LECTURE 19- 11/14/17- group presentation & MEANS, BEAMS, and CYBERCULTURAL MACHINES

LECTURE 19- 11/14/17- group presentation

What is a meme?

  • Richard Dawkins, 1976
  • A unit of culture
  • “Mimeme” = meme- social gene, mimicking- unit of imitation
  • Spreadable, like a germ, spreading culture
  • Kanye West interrupts MTV VMA awards 2009

Reintroducing the meme

  • Memes can be “tunes, ideas, catch- phrases, fashion” –Richard Dawkins
  • In 1970s, meant language, art, technology, religion
  • Nowadays, we think of means in the concept of internet
    • Nazi comparison meme
  • Internet memes
    • Memetic phrases, videos, performances, images

A meme’s place in academic context

  • Godwin’s Law- a “counter-meme”?
    • Whenever Nazi comparison comes up, someone responds Godwin’s Law
  • Memes need to line up with an already established standard

5 Fundamental logics

  • Multimodality
    • Composed of communicative media and communicative modes
    • Media: technologies of dissemination
    • Modes: technologies of representation
    • Multimodality: multiple “semiotic codes” (what media implies by being what it is)
    • Spurs further remixing
    • Put memes on a car, shirt, print
  • Reappropriation
    • Meme transmission is subject to continuous mutation, and also to blending
    • Cultural participation, putting a caption on an image gives it a different meaning
    • Giving voice and crafting expression
  • Resonance
    • Connect with enough participants to inspire iteration from a fixed premise
    • Studium: understand the mean because of culture understanding, appreciate it
    • Punctum: resonates with you because of personal level
    • Main causes of resonance: juxtaposition, humour, empowerment. Resonance is hard to track, varies per individual
  • Collectivism
    • Sense of community, hashtags (public), GIF messages to friends (private)
    • Bridge between individual and collective (lack of author, credit)
    • Stealing memes is comical in itself
    • Collectivism can be a genre
  • Spread
    • Aspect closest to Dawkins’ meme definition
    • Is everyone a gatekeeper? If a friend sends you a meme and you don’t send it to other people, are you a gatekeeper stopping the spread of memes?

How memes matter

  • Participatory, folk media, conservation & context
  • Every micro-transaction weaves into a larger context, easy to create and easy to share
  • A culmination of culture and opinion, a reflection of us

LECTURE 19- 11/14/17 

Key thinker of cybercultural memes

  • Limor Shifman, communication scholar
  • Ryan Milner, communications scholar

What are memes?

  • Biological
    • Unit of cultural information, necessary word to name the entity that might play the role of gene in the transmissions of words, ideas, faiths, mannerisms, and fashions – Dawkins
  • Cybercultural
    • Modern, mediated folk texts- Milner

Meme behaviour

  • Behaviours correspond to varying degrees of cognitive engagement
  • Reception and production predicated on digital literacy, cultural literacy, and vernacular creativity (understanding language of internet culture you are a part of)
  • Intervention in media products leading to modification and descent of memetic media
  • Hierarchy of behaviour
    • Attending, engaging, listening (skimming/ scanning)
    • Evaluating, deciphering (reading, sharing)
    • Producing, synthesizing, creating (annotating, writing, commenting)

Memes and determinism

  • The production and spread of biological memes provokes considerations of biological determinism- thought virus, germ
  • We are passive recipients of memes, hosts for their self-centered replication
    • Requires active participation to transmit and spread
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