Re: The BIG MEME Experiment

Mark Mills (
Fri, 8 Jan 99 10:21:18 -0600

Subject: Re: The BIG MEME Experiment
Date: Fri, 8 Jan 99 10:21:18 -0600
From: Mark Mills <>
To: "Memetics List" <>
Message-Id: <>

>This is a fantastic opportunity for
>memeticists - any ideas?

The most suitable one for a TV station is the 'rumor' idea. Have the TV
station report a series of 'Princess Di sightings'. The TV station would
ask people to keep an eye out and report to the station when a sighting
is made.

The original Di sighting would be quite specific. The clothing, hair
style, automobile, and setting would be explained in detail. We would
expect these details to change and thus show how the rumor mutates.

The TV station then collects the various reports and watches how the
'rumor' spreads. The reports could be tracked on a map, showing how
multiple strains of the original rumor evolve as they spread by word of

After a month or two, the TV station could have 30 minute show on how the
rumor evolved, including a discussion of fecundity (how prone the
population was to spread the rumor) and replication accuracy (how
accurately each generation of the rumor reflected the original).

In America, the Elvis sightings are generally taken in good humor, so the
joke played on the general population would be taken in good spirits.
The Royal family would have to be informed and approve of the experiment
(thus showing how memetic experiments require the same safety measures
required in anti-viral drug testing).

After the 30 minutes of show regarding data collected, a panel of 3 or 4
memeticists could talk for another 30 minutes on 'what is a meme' and how
the experiment relates to memetic research.


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