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Internet Memes Look Like Evolution?

In Slate Magazine, author Chris Wilson writes in Charles Darwin Tagged You in a Note on Facebook


“All in all, Facebook infections look remarkably similar to human ones. And like organisms, the odds do seem stacked against all but the fittest of memes. The ‘Notes’ application—including the ability to tags friends—has been a feature of Facebook since August 2006, a Facebook spokeswoman told me on Tuesday. (The PR rep also confirmed that Facebook itself had no part in sparking the trend.) The fact that it took two-and-a-half years for a Notes-based meme to hit it big suggests long odds.

Still, viral marketers might take note of the patterns that ’25 Random Things About Me’ obeyed. The best hope for someone looking to start a grass-roots craze is to introduce a wide variety of schemes into the wild and pray like hell that one of them evolves into a virulent meme. If evolution is any guide, however, there’s no predicting what succeeds and what doesn’t. Just look at the platypus.”

Perhaps viral marketers already have? I was recently alerted by Facebook that a friend of mine had just joined a group titled something to the effect of “The 25 Random Things About Me meme is really just a marketing ploy to find out more about us.”

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