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The new science of memes "Scientists are beginning to understand...

The new science of memes

"Scientists are beginning to understand how the curiously addictive visual tropes known as ‘memes’ are born, why they die, and whether or not it’s possible to predict which will ‘go viral’ and be harvested by the night-soil merchants up at meme warehouses like Cheezburger.

For example:

  • Memes that hit an above-average peak of popularity at some point in their life are less likely, overall, to ultimately break the “success” threshold. Memes that are shared more consistently over time, rather than a great deal all at once, are more likely to ultimately go viral
  • Treating memes like genes tells us which are likely to spread
  • Memes could have seasonal patterns, or even follow the anxieties and fads of the day, as suggested by trends in the news
  • Memes have a half-life. They become popular, and then, taken as a whole, they are consumed and then tossed on the scrap-heap of history.

Tags: Social media
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