What makes a meme? And, more specifically, what makes a meme go viral?
The term, coined by Charles Darwin, was used along with ‘gene’, though unlike the gene, which replicates biological information, a meme replicates cultural information.
Kevin Alloca, in his TedTalk, reinforces this understanding of memes and states 3 things are required for a meme to then go viral:
- Tastemakers: influential people that report the meme
- Unexpectedness: or uniqueness of the meme at the time
- Participation: Others want to replicate, parody or reference the meme
Others, such as Weng et al, have researched and proposed that the more communities a meme permeates, the higher than chances are that it will become viral.(1)
(1). Weng, L., Menczer, F., & Ahn, Y. (2013). Virality prediction and community structure in social networks. Scientific Reports (Nature Publisher Group), 3, 2522. doi:http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/10.1038/srep02522