There’s Something About Memes (part 4 of ?)

Memes are defined as a unit of pop culture. The term was first coined by a British scientist, RichardDawkins,  to describe the evolution and spread of cultural ideas. Somewhere along the line, the term degenerated to describe LOLcats and Rickrolling.

The success and longevity of a meme depends upon how culturally relevant it is. Case in point, this past Sunday, MTV aired its annual Music Video Awards. As a big television event, the award show had lots of eyeballs on it, so when the  unexpected happened, it did not take long for that moment to bear fruit to a new meme. During an acceptance speech by country/pop singer Taylor Swift, hip hop artist Kanye West grabbed the microphone from her hand to proclaim that Beyonce, who Taylor had beat out for the award, had “one of the best videos of all time.” (Video here) This opened the door for a brand new meme that caught on like wildfire yesterday.

An example:

 kanye-moon

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There’s something about memes (part 3 of ?)

First, a public service message: This is our 100th post! (Woot!)

Admittedly, I’ve not gone back to memes since my post in February. Yikes! However, I wanted to share a video series from Rocketboom called “Know Your Meme” which explains the origins and proper use of a number of Internet memes while wearing nifty labcoats. With a number of “tutorials” and counting, you might want to check it out next time a friends or colleagues starts obsessing about the Shiba Inu Puppycam or replies to one of your emails with a cheeky “O RLY?”

For your viewing pleasure, here’s the Know Your Meme: Yo Dawg video.

There’s something about memes (part 1 of ?)

Memes – love them or hate them, they’ve been around forever. But, due to the critical mass in social media, some people are just beginning to discover them in earnest. Thanks to some of Facebook’s newer functionalities the ’25 Things’ meme has had some new life breathed into it. So much so, even TIME and Newsweek wrote about it earlier this month.

It occurred to me that now is as good a time as any to explore memes in more depth. Have you ever wondered what exactly a meme was anyway?

A lot of memes take the form of surveys or lists that will ask you to do things such as list 10 things you love that start with the letter “M” or, like a Cosmo quiz, will rate how girly you are based on your answers to questions such as “Do you go tanning?”  and “Do you paint  your nails?” Other memes are harder to define or even explain.

Case in point: Barack Obama’s inauguration took place  in front of the Capitol Building on Tuesday, January 20, 2009 where Aretha Franklin performed decked out in a particular hat.

Tell'em Aretha!

Tell'em Aretha!

The general public and the media was abuzz about the hat. Thanks to BuzzFeed, the truly obsessed  started editing pictures of the hat on themselves, their dogs, even the Capitol Building itself! And thus a new meme was born.

Stephen Colbert likes hats!

Stephen Colbert likes hats!

So do these little guys!

So do these little guys!

The Capitol Building is definitely rocking the hat!

The Capitol Building is definitely rocking the hat!

 Do you understand memes yet? I’ll be putting out a continuation of this post soon-ish. I could have probably defined a meme and its potential applications for our clients in just one post, but it’s way more fun to show off  pictures while I’m at it, right?

Web 2.0 is never gonna run around and desert you

Web 2.0 and the Internet in general has had a massive effect on the music industry. If you need proof, let me point you to a short list of examples that are sure to ring a bell.

The latest example of the Internet’s effect on the Music Industry is quite amusing. As a result of the Rickrolling Internet meme phenomenon, Rick Astley is currently being considered for an award at the MTV Europe Music Awards along with Weezer and Snoop Dog. The reason is simple – over the past year countless eyeballs have seen the music video for his 1987 single “Never Gonna Give You Up.”

As we all know, word-of-mouth is considered to be the holy grail of marketing because audiences consider the opinions of friends, colleagues and peer leaders to to be more reputable than other forms of marketing like paid advertising. In the past, word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM) was great but difficult to scale, but today social media has put WOMM on steroids – and the impact stuns me sometimes. Who would have thought a guy that recorded a catchy yet mediocre pop song 20 ago would be on the tip of everyone’s tounge today and be on the short list for an award to boot? These are crazy times!

By Cristina

*cough, cough* I can’t come to work today, I have Discomgoogolation

YouGov, an international market research firm, conducted a study in late July which polled 2100 Britons about their Internet dependency and came across some interesting findings.

  • 76% say they cannot live without the Internet
  • 44% say they feel confused and frustrated when they are unable to get online
  • 17% say the longest they’ve been without Internet access is less than one day
  • 47% say the Internet is more important to them than religion
  • 20% say they pay more attention to the Internet than their partners
  • 19% say they would spend more time on the Internet than with their family
  • 17% say they miss the Internet more than their friends

Apparently, the YouGov study, conducted on behalf of UK web-based directory assistance service 118.com, was apparently done through an online survey. This would indicate the results were at least a little skewed, however, I can’t seem to find a link to the actual study in order to verify. Still, the results were shocking enough for YouGov to create a new term to describe the anxiety one feels when unable to connect to the Internet – “Discomgoogolation.” [Via Reuters UK, ShinyShiny]

In searching for a US-based study on roughly the same topic, I came across a WebMD article about Internet addicition.  A US-based survey of 2513 adults conducted via phone found that 14% of adults in the U.S. had a hard time staying offline for 4 days in a row. While I couldn’t find any other comparable stats, it’d be interesting to see how the general US population ranks the importance Internet connectivity in their lives.

Please enjoy this rather fitting description of the hysteria that ensues when people are denied Internet access – compliments of South Park.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The video above is all in good fun, but for sure consumers and news media have become dependent on the Internet as a source of information.

 

Posted by Cristina

Sweet cellphone tech from Japan, finally?

According to a recent Associated Press article, Japan’s mobile phone companies will finally begin to push their cellphone technology to other countries. Don’t know about you, but I’ve always had phone-envy for those cool multi-tasking gadgets from across the sea. From the article, 3G phones make up 90% of the Japanese cellphone market – remarkable when you keep in mind that the 3G phones are expected to grow to just 31% of the US cellphone market by 2012.

In addition to your typical cellphone functions, here’s a mini list of other cool Japanese features that go above and beyond the average mobile device.

Assuming all this technology gets localized, imagine how different the US cellphone culture could be in a few years time. Fingers crossed we’ll also inherit some quirky cellphone designs, like the Japanese phone that transforms into a mini-robot.

Japanese phone transforms into robot

Robot phone is simultaneously cute AND creepy (Photo cred: Akihabaranews.com)

Posted by Cristina on Tuesday, August 19.

Bigfoot: the power of the press release

Happy Friday! Some silliness to usher in the weekend:

It must have been a slow news day –  most of the major news outlets (Associated Press, New York Times and CNN to name a few) have been buzzing about an alleged Bigfoot discovery made by a few men from Georgia. At a highly-attended press conference event today, held in Palo Alto,  the men presented  inconclusive DNA evidence and a few blurry photos as proof of the discovery.

Now regarded as a giant hoax, the satire is spreading across the Internet. My personal favorites included a Wired.com story that compares Bigfoot to USA Olympic swimmer, Michael Phelps and Bigfoot’s (un)official press release statement (created by Graham Roumieu) that comes courtesy of BoingBoing.

Bigfoot understands the power of the press release

Bigfoot understands the power of the press release

If Bigfoot can understand the power of the press release, surely everyone can.