I love the concept of memes. For those who don’t understand or know what a meme is, here is a quick crash course.
Just as a gene is a small, self contained source of information that is passed on from generation to generation, a meme is a self contained source of information in a cultural sense. A meme is an idea, an idea that can be passed from one person to another, that can be transformed and augmented and made better as it is passed from person to person.
Sometimes, I think people like attaching the name “meme” to an idea just so that it has some sort of cultural relevance. By stating that something is a meme, you are attempting to give it legitimacy and attempting to get it out into the general population. Sometimes, memes die out before they leave their niche environments. (These environments tend to be popular blogs or forums, such as Oh No They Didn’t or 4Chan- I’m not going to include a link to it, as you can Google that yourself…) Other times they go viral and you eventually see them at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Like I said, I love memes. I’m a sucker for good ones. You can learn about other memes at the Internet Meme Database | Know Your Meme. They do a pretty good job of breaking down the history of memes and showing them off.
Lots of background regarding memes, but there’s a point to this, I swear!
Okay, so memes are supposed to be ideas, right?
Can a subculture or a person be a meme? There’s been buzz going around about a new website that called itself Hipster. It’s been unclear as to its function. There is nothing indicating what it should be used for, and neither is there any other information about it on the web. Some sources have indicated that it may be a Quora-meets-FourSquare kind of service. Honestly, if that’s what the service ends up being, that’s pretty cool. It will use geolocation/geoinformation and serve information about what’s around. However, it needs to set itself apart from any other service like it, like Yelp Mobile, or even Google Search.
I’m pretty excited for this service. However, what about the name “Hipster”? So many people have negative reactions to this name, such as Hipster Runoff and TechCrunch. I don’t have an issue with the name. I think the name dictates exactly what the service is – people who are hip to whats local. It’s just really unfortunate that “hipster” has such a negative connotation.
I’ve been known to hate on hipsters. If anything, I’m hipster-lite – I’m into their music, into their irony, like their style in general, but I hate their attitudes. I just don’t see anything wrong with a website calling itself Hipster, if their main purpose is to be the cool new kid on the block, with the information that everyone wants.
Let’s review: memes are cultural ideas passed from person to person. There is a website called “Hipster”. A blog called out the website for being called “Hipster”, stating that it is a meme. Is this true? Can the idea of a hipster really be considered a meme?
My issue with memes is in their purest form they should represent a cultural norm or experience, but when the word meme is attached, they suddenly become something that requires more effort, thought and attention than the original experience.
I also feel that labeling something a meme makes it larger than might need to be, stealing it from it’s rightful owners.