Re: Meme transmission

Ken McE (
Tue, 08 Jul 1997 11:35:44 -0500

Date: Tue, 08 Jul 1997 11:35:44 -0500
From: Ken McE <>
Subject: Re: Meme transmission

From: Tim Rhodes <>
Date: Mon, 7 Jul 1997 10:01:37 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Meme transmission

Has anyone done any actual experiments to calculate the transmission
of memes in a give meme-sphere (culture)?

I'm thinking here along the lines of engineering a meme (or simple
meme-complex), making predictions about its success, releasing it into a
meme-sphere, and tracking its movement, growth, and adaption over time.

Has this been done (other than in advertising) and if so are the results

It seems to me this would be a fairly easy task and could offer some
interesting results.

- -Tim Rhodes


Ken McE comments:

I don't know if deliberately creating a competitive meme is as easy as
your letter suggests. The memes that we are able to notice may seem
quite small and simple, but they have survived a very rugged real world
testing process. My home state, New York, is forever trying to fiddle
with the memetic mix of its citizens. I have noticed that many of its
attempts tend to have a clunky, artificial, feel to them. If not for
the huge financial backing of the state I expect that most of them would
spontaneously self abort before they ever made it out of the capital
You might want to consider taking an existing meme and mutating it. It
is much easier to modify than to create living things. I am curious as
to how you would track a meme in its travels. Unless it is in print,
how will you get feedback?
One thing you might do (or someone may have already done) is look at
the propagation of new paradigms within the sciences. These people
routinely communicate through journals, and there is a good, easily
accessible, written historical record. The gossip magazines also trade
rumors back and forth in a very measurable fashion, if you can stand
reading them. You might want to trace something like to usage of "Ms."
as a feminine form of "Mr." This is fairly recent and easy to do text
searches for.

Please do keep us posted on your research, I would be quite interested
in anything that starts to nudge memetics into being a hard science.

My Regards, Ken McE 8-)
=93Just blame it all on those pesky memes.=94 - W. L. Benzon

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