Wednesday, January 27, 2010

How to Manufacture a Meme

First what is an internet Meme?

A meme (pronounced
/ˈmiːm/, rhyming with "cream"[1]) is a postulated unit of cultural ideas, symbols or practices, which can be transmitted from one mind to another through speech, gestures, rituals or other imitable phenomena. (The etymology of the term relates to the Greek word μιμητισμός (pronounced /mɪmetɪsmos/) for "something imitated".)[2] Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes, in that they self-replicate and respond to selective pressures.[3]

So it's viral content that encourages participation. It tells a very brief but revealing story. I recently came across an example that used om nom nom (which was apparently lifted from Sesame Street's Cookie Monster) to explain what a meme is. But when I started thinking about it I found it interesting that meme's aren't manufactured, they just occur; so what I'm wondering how easy it is to go about creating one.

Hypothesis for creating a Meme:

1. Learn how to be both funny and insightful.
2. choose one of the following:
a. select a pop culture event that resonates with a large audience immediately following a highly publicized occurrence; ie. Kanye slams Taylor Swift on the MTV music awards, Christian Bale loses his cool and spews profanity at a set hand.
b. choose a niche on the long tail that harbors a group followers who are passionate about something obscure or interesting; ie. LOL cats, Om nom nom creatures

3. Create an overlay that calls out something insightful or recognizes the essence or true nature of whatever topic you have chosen.

4. Make it easy and enjoyable for others to get creative and manufacture their own overlays that allow them to express their creativity and take part on what might be called "the inside joke."

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Humanitarian Design

It's something all of us entrepreneurs and innovators should be thinking about. Not only how to make a profit but how to help people and how to take care of the planet. It's where capitalism meets altruism. Well Emily Piloton and Project H are at the forefront of making great things with not only great form and function but designed especially with social responsibility in mind.

What if we refocus our business models to think about doing good instead of just looking at the bottom line? It's not a new concept, but rather a business model that has taken some time to prove viable. There is money to be made even when a company is doing great things for other people and the planet.

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Emily Pilloton
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