How Memes Work

How Memes Work

January 5, 2011 |  by

The next time you walk into a store, notice how you feel. Do you feel different – or at least different from the last store you entered? The feeling of the store is the meme. Maybe it’s upbeat and youthful, high fashion or hip, or maybe it oozes of wealth. Whatever the meme, it offers you something it hopes you’ll want.

When you buy into a meme, you accept what it’s offering. Sometimes it’s conscious – say, supporting a business because you like their values. But usually there’s an unconscious pull – say, rushing into Anthropologie for a ½ price sale. Buying in is a lot like investing. Except what you’re ”investing” is yourself. You align your interests – at least a little – with the meme. Its goals and yours become linked.

Memes want you to buy in. It’s how they support their goals. Whether you buy in or not, you may notice meme members have a certain way of thinking, speaking and behaving. You might even call it an outlook on life – what the meme values, or doesn’t value. All these influence us when we’re in the presence of the meme – or just thinking about it. Often it’s unconscious. Like how friends, um…all talk alike.

Think of religions, offices, social groups. They all have a code of behavior. What’s accepted and what’s not. Members of these groups, and even visitors, are influenced by the code. Almost always, the code is a means of achieving an agenda.

To hear more about agendas, read on..


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