(20 May 2018) Interesting comments in Blink article on Memes

Thoroughly enjoyable article title “Meme in India”  on Blink, Hindu Business Line, 19 May 2018. See https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/blink/cover/meme-in-india/article23924380.ece

Some excerpts that caught my interest:

  • Interestingly, it was back in 1976 that evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, in his book The Selfish Gene, coined the term ‘meme’ to describe small units of culture that spread from person to person by copying or imitation. Like many Web 2.0 applications — which have users generating the content — memes reflect and shape the general mindset, writes Limor Shifman in Memes in Digital Culture, a comprehensive work on internet memes.
  • Additionally, there is the risk of satire failing to find its mark, and being taken at face value, she says. Visvanathan is among those who believes that perhaps the country isn’t ripe for such mature forms of subversion, as “the information revolution in India is not complete. We are a downloaded culture,” he says, adding that there is very little to differentiate between Macaulayism and the current wave of information revolution. “We get information but we don’t know how to process it. Internet has become a source of rumour, which is not a potent source of knowledge.”
  • However, there are far too many people, especially those aged 30-plus, who see memes and social media as potent sources of knowledge. This gullible population generally attributes ‘knowledge value’ to anything that is written, printed or produced. “IT is Macaulay 2.0. Macaulay made us secretaries, and Bangalore made us electronic secretaries,” says Visvanathan.
  • Meme-making is in no way comparable to knowledge creation. “We are not inventing knowledge. Internet gives you converging knowledge, rather than diverging knowledge. Internet has been good at some low-level of information creation. It has not been able to excel at real knowledge creation,” explains Visvanathan.