Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Gateway memes

It was once claimed that Marijuana was a "gateway drug".

Scientists seem to have mixed feelings about this claim - but there are certainly cases of a "gateway" effect in the world of drugs - where associations with drug dealers tend to make a range of illegal drugs more accessible.

Memes tend to pack-hunt - and it is quite common for acceptance of one meme to be followed by the assimilation of a range of associated memes. For example:

  • If you accept the virgin birth meme, that tends to open you up to christian memes about resurrection, the afterlife, the garden of eden and original sin.

  • Similarly, those who assimilate Linux memes are subsequently more likely to adopt memes related to vi, grep, gimp and git.

The term "gateway meme" can be used in cases where one meme commonly leads to exposure to a range of other associated memes.

The term works best when it's often the same meme that acts as a hook. For example, it is often Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" song that acts as a gateway to her back catalog.

The term also works best when the memes in question are undesirable or addictive. The association is with gateway drugs - which is a negative term used by opponents of drug use.

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