As you blog this weekend...

Shoot for the moon, right? Even if you miss, you'll land among the silent, cold vacuum of space.

Your blogging could bring in revenue if you attract enough attention to yourself. Eric Nakagawa, the Patient Zero of the lolcats meme (see the previous post), did just that.

Content creators and piracy.

This article discuss (and links to) another article about the threat of obscurity to content creators. Look for the following:

Who are "content creators"?

What does "obscurity" mean here?

What does "ubiquity" mean here?

What is piracy?

Why would obscurity threaten artists (e.g., musicians and film makers) more than piracy?

Memes: October 4.

There are hundreds of examples of memetic information on the Internet. Many of them are hilarious; others, disturbing; some, a little of both. We're looking at some of the more popular examples as we try to extrapolate a theory about what becomes popular and why it does.

First, let's look at the case study from earlier in the week again. We'll discuss why a site like the one created by this author only lasts a certain amount of time (memetically dies out) and why others -- the one below, for example -- seem to be gaining in strength with time.

- The original site
- The original picture (Patient Zero)
- A great article in The Wall Street Journal about the memetic longevity of lolcats

All Your Base Are Belong to Us
- Time article
- USA Today: Why would a line from an old game suddenly catch on? Who knows?"One of the great things about the Internet is it creates this," Schatz says. "Somebody grabs something out of the past and turns it into a phenomenon."

The Tourist Guy
- Debunked

Chuck Norris Facts
- Chuck Norris (possibly) not identifying irony when he sees it

Christopher Walken for President*

Bert Is Evil
- Life imitates art (and another article on this)

Tay Zonday's Chocolate Rain

Badger Badger Badger

The Hamster Dance (original)

The Hamster Dance (nowadays)

Dancing Banana / Peanut Butter Jelly Time
- The interesting thing here is that the school server recognizese an attempt to view this animation as an attempt to view "Pornography/Adult Content" or something "Obscene/Tasteless." Remember that this is an animation of a dancing banana singing, "Peanut butter jelly time!" And remember that censorship is often clumsy.

*I bought this one. Completely bought it. I was ready to sign up to get the guy elected, and it in an only slightly ironic way.


Memetic fame, here we come!


For your blog this week, you simply need to update with a third post. Next week, we will introduce commenting; the article hyperlinked in the post below this one is required by that time (but not now, so quitcher worrying).

For now, let's read about memes, Internet phenomena, and why it's not a good idea to leave embarassing video footage lying around -- metaphorically speaking or not.

Start here:

The Meme Epidemic: A Case Study

Trust me; even if you don't understand everything here, you will pick up enough background for our purposes.

Now to the Brits:

It's all in the memes

Read that article, too. Remember, if you don't understand the concept behind this information, it doesn't matter how funny a guy lip-synching to Romanian pop is.

Now let's look at a few repositories of information and a couple of websites devoted to tracking memetic developments on the Web.

Here's the Wikipedia entry for Internet memes. It gives us a working vocabulary for types, although we'll add a few over the next few days.

Here is a site that actually lets us vote memes into existence: MemeVote.com. Take a look at what's on here.

Finally, the best site for current Internet trends in this regard (although it only tracks viral videos, those are the most prominent kind of meme in play nowadays): Viral Video Chart. This site tracks the number of views, links, and so on; notice what's popular right now, and we'll begin to discuss what it is that makes a video more viral than others.

In class, we will watch the most popular viral videos of all time, discuss their contents, and try to extrapolate a theory about this kind of popularity. We will look at trends, but we will also discuss how we -- as a class -- might create and propagate our own Internet meme.

Get to reading,

Mr. Eure


Fame and fortune.

The following article is a supplement to your semester blogs. You are to read it before the end of this week, when you will be asked to comment on a few classmates' blogs.

All-Stars of the Clever Riposte