Viral Memetics

By : Jimmy Thomas

It would be interesting to you if I say that the Darwinian 'Natural Selection' also applies to your ideas. They take birth from you; they change over time and evolve to become even more effective replicators. In short, it's the viral propagation of memes

Dawkins talked about 'meme' as any cultural entity that exhibits self-replication. The concept is today extended to the social media platforms as our thoughts and ideas find their replication through multiple forms/formats. In essence, memes are cultural analogues of genes. Today, they have acquired the ability to spread through social media platforms and exhibit infectious qualities. They very much spread through social interactions the same way viral infections do.

Audiences are either susceptible, infected, recovered or re-infected by memes. You are susceptible if you are not yet exposed to the meme. If you are already exposed, and you are no more interested in it, then you have recovered. But the peculiarity of the meme is that it can re-infect you in its mutated form.

It's interesting to note that social media virality is studied with the help of mathematical models (Viral Memetic Models) used in epidemiology. Surprisingly enough, the epi curve/epidemiological curve itself is used in marketing to plot the infectious spikes created by our thoughts and ideas on social media platforms.