Re: Adventure Memes/Duration Memes

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Wed, 03 Jun 1998 20:42:29 -0700

From: <>
Date: Wed, 03 Jun 1998 20:42:29 -0700
Subject: Re: Adventure Memes/Duration Memes

>Aaron Lynch writes:

>>For mathematical models, what we really need are unified theories that
>>do not care whether a meme is epidemic, endemic, or in between these
>>conditions. Building memetic equations directly from memetic event
>>rate parameters rather than by attempting to identify isomorphisms to
>>work done for other infectious agents strikes me as the surest path to
>>take, since this work is required in demonstrating an isomorphism

In referring to "memetic event" are you just talking about the spread of
a particular meme or meme set? If this is the case don't neglect the
diffusion research and the classic "S-shaped" curve. The slope and
profile of the curve may vary but I would hazard to guess that the
overall shape will have the same overall form.

Tim Rhodes responds:
>Won't these rates be dependent upon the interconnectedness and relative
>structure of the socal fabric through which a meme spreads?

>And, could not the same meme travel through a target population at two
>entirely different rates, were they to do so using just two different >social structures out the several present in that given population? Is >this a random element thrown into the equations? Or not?

This relates to one of the critiques I have regarding Rogers' diffusion
model. Most of the work done in the field acknowledges the importance of
sociocultural networks but then narrowly defines the network based on
the trajectory of the diffusion event. Memes, whether artifactual or
ideological, often trace a course striking chords and tangents through
many sociocultural networks. It is a mistake to define the related
sociocultural network simply by the total population of adopters (or
hosts). In some networks the meme may spread like wildfire while in
others only peripheral members succumb to hosthood due to relatively
greater memetic resistance.


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