What’s The Matter With Memes?

Memes matter. You know it.  Know why:

Yes we can! Ermahgerd. Occupy. I had a dream. Haters gonna hate. Tear down this wall! Gangnam Style. Drill, baby, drill.

We are constantly bombarded by memes in our daily lives. Some spontaneously flare up and then burn out as quickly as they appeared, while others stick around for decades. We hardly consider their presence, much less contemplate their possible influence on our lives.

Researchers in the emerging field of meme science are digging deeper, however, investigating how and why these sticky phrases or trends sink into our cultural psyche and subconsciously influence the way we process the world around us.

“Our goal is to introduce rigorous market research tools that have been developed for the corporate sector and apply them to the most pressing social issues in the world,” said Joe Brewer, co-founder of DarwinSF, a San Francisco-based company founded six months ago to help identify and spread memes that may influence significant global issues, starting with climate change.

Mr. Brewer and his co-founder, Balazs Lazlo Karafiath, aim to quantify the potential impact of a given climate change meme and then selectively promote its spread. If successful, they think they could creatively shift the way we think about and approach the problem.
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