Meme Taxonomy

In my war of knowledge, Memes are the ammunition, the bullets, the explosives. How memes reproduce, how they deploy their payload in the mind is a combination of concepts covered in my glossary page. Semiotics, Neurolinguistics, Mindware, call it what you will.

So, information seems a little thin on classification of memes. The trouble with memes is that the term has rather been hijacked (as in the title of a previous post) to describe image mixes/mashups and so on that go viral for humourous purposes, rather than describing Dawkins’ original concept.

“an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture” is how the dictionary describes a meme. Not something as simple as a piece of information, meme includes the consequences of the meme being transmitted: behaviour, change, understanding.

so, a successful meme could merely reinforce ideas already held by the target, but it could be a catalyst for changing their behaviour or opinions, and thus as it spreads, it changes people, and the more people it changes, one could argue it could effect cultural change.

If anyone can refer me to a document describing this better than me, please contact me via my details on the contact page.

What I’m arguing for is an agreed method of classifying memes, identifying them, recording them.

A taxonomy would (one assumes) be based on measurable characteristics of any given meme.

  • Transmission vector and/or medium (internet, word of mouth, press, TV etc)
  • Semiotic components (which mental components are being utilised to express the meme to the consciousness)
  • sphere of effect – politics, advertising etc (one could argue this would be a notional sector of the noosphere)

I’ll add and expand on these as I go along.

how one would go about “naming” a meme could be far more tricky.