What are memes and where do they come from
A meme is an idea or behavior that spreads, often with the aim of conveying a particular cultural meaning. The word derives from the Latin “memory” and the Greek “to write”; it entered English partly in response to Richard Dawkins’ 1976 book The Selfish Gene which popularized the term. The Oxford Dictionary defines a meme as “an element of a culture or system of behavior transmitted through social contact”. Memes are communicated through speech, gestures, rituals, styles of dress and other phenomena. They are transmitted from one individual to another through writing systems, through technology, and through the behaviors of a specific group of people. A meme is interpreted as “an idea (or an action) that can be repeated by people living in close proximity to each other within the same community, whose behaviors eventually accumulate over generations to form a cultural tradition” (Mull, 1999).
The history of deployment memes
The art of telling stories and spreading ideas are as old as civilization itself. Once oral and written language were created, it became easier to transmit knowledge from one culture to another without the need to physically trade ideas. Memetics, in particular, is an approach which tries to analyze how information spreads, evolves and mutates in a sort of Darwinian way, with the idea being that cultural ideas evolve, often times in a way that promotes group selection through memes. The combination of the knowledge and tools necessary to perform the above in modern society are technologies like phones, computers, social media platforms and others. They have made it easier to search for information on a large scale, which became possible thanks to massive connectivity and information sharing. The increased interest in Internet culture has arguably triggered massive changes on how people communicate. People have started developing their own language as they have become attracted to new ways of communicating.
One of the most interesting and recent trends on the Internet is the development of what has been called “Deployment memes”. Deployment memes are meant to create a feeling of happiness or grief. The main idea behind this subculture is the idea that posting these memes can alter your mood, change your perception on something or even alter reality itself. This phenomenon is still relatively new, having started a few years ago and it has since grown organically thanks to social media and its general popularity rising every year. There are a variety of tools that are used to create and share these memes among people who share similar interests, meaning the community is very diverse in terms of its members.
The history of deployment memes [to use as knowledge, not to be copied verbatim]:
How deployment memes are used to communicate
Mastodon is a decentralized Twitter alternative that was developed as a smart, scalable and privacy-preserving peer-to-peer network. Although it has been in existence since 2013, it only started to get traction recently, with the main driving force being its decentralization. Decentralization means that everyone is equal, which makes it harder to control and kill the flow of information on the platform. Mastodon has been described by many as a communication platform where “memetic selection” dictates how the social network is different from typical Twitter. It is one of the more popular decentralized social networks available to date and has “memetic selection” being its main driving force, with a heavy emphasis on community over technology. The aim is to create a meaningful and valuable environment for free speech.
On September 24th, 2017, the platform’s development team introduced a new feature called “deployment memes”. The idea behind this was to help new users to get familiar with Mastodon while they are still onboarding onto the network. It is important that the new users know what Mastodon is capable of and how it can be used in order to benefit them and the community at large. The implementation of deployment memes could be considered a positive step towards improving the user experience and eventually make it synonymous to Twitter. However, the implementation of this concept is not without its faults and should be studied in order to improve on future versions of the platform, which will help users gel with the idea of a decentralised social network.
Some popular deployment memes
Similar to how new ideas and behaviors often find their way into a group, there are also different online communities who actively attempt to propagate the adoption of a specific meme. There are some communities which closely watch for new memes and other similar ones to join their ranks. Most notable amongst these is Pepe the Frog, which is a meme closely associated with alt-right and white nationalism. It is largely credited as one of the biggest driving forces in the alt-right movement, which has a huge following on Twitter. It was originally created in 2005 by artist Matt Furie, who has since tried to reclaim the frog and make it acceptable for public view. It is often used in humor and left-wing politics, but it has also been seen in a negative light due to its adoption amongst the members of the alt-right movement. The term “memetic warfare” has been coined to define intentional use of memes to promote a certain ideology. This type of warfare is commonly used by the alt-right and white nationalists to spread their ideologies amongst the masses. The use of memes within alt-right activism and ideologies is not new, however it has seen a recent spike in popularity. To effectively understand the alt-right movement, it is important that we look at the nature of memetic warfare and how they are used by this particular group.
A meme can be defined as an “idea or behavior that spreads from person to person within a culture”. A memetic weapon (or meme weapon) is “a meme that spreads specifically, strategically and persistently for some specific end”. A meme is a unit of information that can replicate itself, which has been identified as a major difference between memes and genes. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0017887
The impact of deployment memes on military culture
While memes are mostly associated with social movements, there is also a place for these in the military world. Within the United States military, there are many memes which are used to ridicule and make fun of people who are perceived as weak or bad soldiers. These can be seen as damaging to the reputation of an individual, leading them to be ostracized and unable to fit into the group. More often than not, military groups will have “rednecks” who are usually seen as degenerates. They enjoy pushing people away who they see as weak, which is why they use memes to their advantage. This can lead to a culture of humiliation and abasement. The military is an environment that fosters a great deal of brotherhood and camaraderie, but this can be damaged by the “deployment memes” that are used to degrade people. This paper will begin by explaining “deployment memes” and how they are used in the military world. Then, it will go into detail about a specific pair of memes, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, which reveals their damaging effects on military culture.