Friday, 18 July 2014

Lessons in memetic hitchhiking from "Weird Al" Yanovic

Take a quick lesson in memetic hitchhiking with the latest videos from "Weird Al" Yanovic.

Al neatly illustrates the art of spreading his content by linking it to popular trending content.

Another way of looking at this sort of thing is in terms of retromemes.

Of course both retromemes and memetic hitchhiking are fine examples of memetic recombination.

Al's content also illustrates memetic engineering.

In the first three videos Al parodies popular songs. In First World Problems, he hitch-hikes on a well-known internet meme.

"Weird Al" gave a talk at Google recently - where he explains his approach and marketing strategy.

Critics of memetics sometimes claim that we don't have a predictive science of cultural fitness. Some folk may be ignorant about which cultural items spread, but some other people clearly can tell what will spread - and some have based their careers on it. This criticism is bunk.

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