What’s a meme?

I was asked yesterday “just what the hell is a ‘[tag]meme[/tag]’ anyway?”. Quite simply it’s one of those geeky terms that bloggers love to use because they sound complicated and techie, but in reality actually easy to understand: a meme is an [tag]idea[/tag]!

Now if you head on over to [tag]Wikipedia[/tag], the be-all and end-all definitive source for all information on the planet, you’ll see them ramble along like this:

The term “meme” (IPA: /miːm/, not /mÉ›m/ or /mimi/, to rhyme with “theme”), coined in 1976 by the zoologist and evolutionary scientist Richard Dawkins, refers to a unit of cultural information transferable from one mind to another. Dawkins said, Examples of memes are tunes, catch-phrases, clothes fashions, ways of making pots or of building arches. A meme propagates itself as a unit of cultural evolution and diffusion — analogous in many ways to the behavior of the gene (the unit of genetic information). Often memes propagate as more-or-less integrated cooperative sets or groups, referred to as memeplexes or meme-complexes.

Yeah, ok wikipedia, whatever… so a meme is an idea, right? Here’s a couple of simple [tag]examples[/tag]:

  • General: Just recently some bloggers posted asking several other bloggers to post on their own blogs with 5 things that their readers mightn’t know about them. This meme has spread exponentially to thousands of blogs and is simply known as “5 Things”
  • Cycling bloggers everywhere are currently posting lists of the cycling-related blogs they read, this is following another meme

Got it?

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  1. Bicycle blogs - my B-list at |

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