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:


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Nanoblogging – the new frontier

Who needs microblogging when you can nanoblog? 140 characters – too long! The next big thing is Flutter – each “flap” is only 26 characters – “a whole alphabet!”

Super creative and WELL worth 3.44 minutes of your time for a good laugh.


Our first Prez to use… email?

Are you serious? According to this AP story, President Obama is the “the first sitting president to use e-mail.” Is anyone else here scratching their head? I mean, the article goes on to say that Bush “was an active e-mailer before becoming president” (?? Then he stopped??) and then points out that “Previous presidents chose not to use e-mail because it can be subpoenaed by Congress and courts and may be subject to public records laws.” Um – HELLO? Shouldn’t they be? This is positioned as though it would be a bad thing for the President’s emails to be saved a la Sarbanes-Oxley.

I mean, I can understand that SOME things might be very high-security and therefore best left to conversations behind closed doors or whatever politicians do, but I guess I’m just shocked to learn that our presidents never used email to conduct their “business.” That’s like saying the White House didn’t use electricity or something, and the former Presidential families basked in the glow of oil lamps every night. Right?!

Besides, it makes me feel better to know that the Pres is being held accountable – you know, the whole transparency thing. So the AP goes on to say that Obama’s e-mails will be subject to the Presidential Records Act, which requires the National Archives to preserve presidential records. OK, excellent.

And the most important, related news of the day (seriously, EVERYONE has been talking about it. Even on Twitter): Obama fought and won to keep his Blackberry! The White House will allow him to check his Presidential email account (which let me remind you no other Prez ever had) on his personal Blackberry. Hooray!

The best was the AP photo of Obama dropping his Blackberry:  

President-elect Barack Obama drops his BlackBerry as he steps out of his limousine before boarding a plane at Washingtons Reagan National Airport, Friday, Jan. 16, 2009, prior to heading to Bedford, Ohio, where he will meet with workers at Cardinal Fasteners. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

President-elect Barack Obama drops his BlackBerry as he steps out of his limousine (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

So, welcome to the revolution in communications that is email, White House! And be sure to watch for future sightings of President Obama on his Blackberry!

In all seriousness, I think it is really cool that Obama has a Blackberry and will be connected to the World Wide Web via email. I just think a) it’s amazing he’s the first one to do so and b) it’s ridiculous how the media has reacted to the Blackberry “story” as a “win” for Obama. My pessimistic side thinks this is the “Obama sells” phenomenon. What do you think?