Friday, 2 December 2011

Bait breakdown

Douglas Hofstadter proposed that memes use "bait" as an incentive to get people to adopt them. He did this in the chapter entitled: On Viral Sentences and Self-Replicating Structures in his 1985 book Metamagical Themas. That chapter included an anatomical breakdown of memes - which included the concepts of "bait" and "hook".

The idea of "bait" seems as though it can be usefully broken down further, as follows:
  • Attract attention;
  • Hold attention while pitch is delivered;
  • Pitch;
There are two main ideas here:
  • Attracting attention is a ubiquitous component of memes. Visual memes use sharp edges, bright colours, motion and sometimes reflective elements that sparkle to attract people's attention.
  • Delivering a pitch often takes time, and memes often need to hold people's attention, while it is being delivered.

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