Memes Notes Chapters 5 through 7

5: Memes Versus Virals

Vitality: a word-of-mouth-like cascade diffusion process wherein a message is actively forwarded from one person to other, within and between multiple weakly linked personal networks, resulting in a rapid increase in the number of people who are exposed to the message. --Jeff Hemsley and Robert Mason.
Key attributes: "a specific item propagates in a certain way"
Viral: a single cultural unit, many copies
Internet meme: always a collection of texts


Viral: a single cultural unit that is spread by multiple agents and is viewed by many millions 1) a viral
2) a founder-based meme: an internet meme that is sparked by specific text, video, or photo
3) an egalitarian meme: comprising many version that seem to have evolved simultaneously without clear founding text. "We should think of Internet memes and virals as different modes of engagement rather than as passive versus active formulations."

Communication as Transmission

Communication as Ritual

Researchers asks how and to what degree viral spread, investigate the growth of effectiveness, and chart the power structures underpinning this process. And what role do blogs and other social media play in the viral process.
Internet memes focus more strongly on the idea of communication as ritual. This means that memetic activities play an important role in constructing shared values.
We should: look at viral content in terms of ritual and memetic content in terms of transmission.

6: Unpacking Viral and Memetic Success

What makes content "viral"?
1) Positivity (and humor) 2) Provoking "high-arousal" emotions 3) Packaging 4) Prestige 5) Positioning 6) Participation
Memetic: content units that generate user-created derivatives in the form of remakes, parodies, or imitations.
Memetic Videos: exceptionally popular videos generating a high volume of derivative work.
Common features within these popular videos are: ordinary people/actors, flawed masculinity, humor, simplicity, repetitiveness, and whimsical content

"Thus, the ostensibly unfinished, unpolished, amateur-looking, and even weird video invites people to fill in the gaps, address the puzzles, or mock its creator".

Memetic Photos: photographs that attract extensive volumes of user-created responses, usually using Photoshop.
Juxtaposition: striking incongruity within the photo, one person who sticks out, suggests use of Photoshop
Frozen Motion: in the midst of an activity, frozen in time through photography, shows people in ludicrous posture creating humor, these photos capture a moment of great instability, users are drawn to respond and to complete the unfinished movement.

Viral Success

Memetic Success

Viral and Memetic Success

7: Meme Genres

Defined as socially recognized types of communicative action.
Genres share: structures, styles, themes, topics, and intended audiences
Top Down: drama, film, television
Bottom Up: "best man" speeches, application letters
"Vernacular Creativity": everyday innovative and artistic practices that can be carried out by simple production means.
"Different meme genres involve different levels of literacy: some can be understood (and created) by almost anyone, whereas others require detailed knowledge about digital meme subculture."

Photo Fads: includes staged photos of people who imitate specific positions or actions in various settings, usually with the purpose of posting the picture on the web. I.e. planking, heads in freezers, owning

Flash Mob: a phenomenon in which a group of strangers gather in a public space, suddenly and simultaneously perform a particular act, and after that just leave the scene, quick as a flash.

Lip-synch: are clips in which an individual or group is seen matching their lip movements to a popular song.
Misheard lyrics: amusing mistranslations of spoken sounds to written words.

Recut Trailers: a user-generated "fake" movies trailer based on the re-editing or remixing of film footage. It displays the original film's genre with an utterly different one. They seem to promote nothing but really it promotes the idea that the creator is talented, creative, and digitally literate.

LOLCats: pictures of cats with misspelled captions, which usually refer to the situation in the photo. It was the first prominent manifestation of "image macro".

Stock Character Macros: "advice animals", does not always include advice, over time many human protagonists have been added to the initial animal-based arsenal. Memes of this genre use image macro and build on a set of stock characters that represent stereotypical behaviors.

Rage Comics: amateur-looking comics featuring "rage faces"-- a set of characters, each associated with a different behavior. "These meme genres tend to focus on a small core of subject associated with winners and losers in social life.

In Class Notes
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