Tom Hayes has an interesting post in which he coins the word 'beme" to mean a meme that spreads in the blogosphere.
Michael Malone's ABC News column on Thursday mentioning "bemes" has certainly produced a lot of interest. Originally, I coined the word beme to describe a meme propagated by blogs and bloggers. Now I can see that the turn of phrase has a much bigger potential to capture the rapidly-moving cultural touchstones of the Bubble Generation.
As you may know, "meme" was first defined by Richard Dawkins in 1976 as "a unit of cultural information" spread from one mind to another. In other words, a viral idea that eventually becomes common knowledge.
Fast forward three decades, and it seems to me that technology has turbo-charged the meme process. Looking for the juste mot to describe a "purposeful" meme fed into the vast human network of the Internet, either by blog, email, video, phonecast, social media or other viral means, beme seems to fit the bill.
A beme is a turbo-charged meme made possible entirely by the existence of the network affect. A beme can be impactful because it is lurid--a photo of a panty-less Britney Spears, or humorous--a whimisical video of the band OKGO on treadmills, or gut-wrenching--the sad tirade by comedian Michael Richards. A beme can cement an idea with the public in a way that cannot be legislated or regulated. No legal effort by Cisco to enforce a trademark, for example, will make the public unlearn that Apple produces the iPhone.
- A meme is old media, a beme is new media.
- A meme takes off by accident, a beme by design.
- A meme can take years to surface, a beme hours.