Memes Memes Memes

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:


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