Re: Instance of Memetic dissemination

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Thu 13 Mar 2003 - 00:32:54 GMT

  • Next message: Lawrence DeBivort: "RE: Instance of Memetic dissemination"

    At 09:15 AM 11/03/03 -0500, Lawrence DeBivort wrote:
    > From a friend...
    > >> Laurie
    > >> Garrett of Newsday -- and author of a great work of contemporary
    > >> history,
    > >> The Coming Plague -- sent this email to a bunch of her friends. It got
    > >> around. Then it got loose. Reportedly she is quite steamed about it, as
    > >> well she might be. But it's been circulated to thousands already...]
    > >From a colleague on the PHIL-LIT list I find out that there
    >is quite alot of analysis and discussion of this e-mail out
    >there. The e-mail, how it spread, and privacy issues which
    >arise, along with lots of links, on LawMeme:
    >Accidental Privacy Spills: Musings on Privacy, Democracy,
    >and the Internet
    >Posted by James Grimmelmann on Wednesday, February 19 @
    >22:02:50 EST


    Great meme example also giving an example of how computers and the Internet can make meme spread very fast.

    There are a lot of memes of this class, chunks of information that don't elicit particular behavior except people pass them on. Some of the memes related to computer viruses are of that class (the ones that would have you delete an OS file). Of course, there are memes that people passed around for a long time about dangers where the meme inhibited behavior. A modern one being "don't play in the streets." A much older one would be for tribe members to pass on to other members that picking berries in a certain place was not a good idea until the bears left. :-)

    Keith Henson

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