'Bemes' are Defining the Blogosphere

Tom Hayes has an interesting post in which he coins the word ‘beme" to mean a meme that spreads in the blogosphere.

Michael Malone’s ABC News column on Thursday mentioning "bemes" has certainly produced a lot of interest.  Originally, I coined the word beme
to describe a meme propagated by blogs and bloggers.  Now I can see
that the turn of phrase has a much bigger potential to capture the
rapidly-moving cultural touchstones of the Bubble Generation.

As you may know, "meme" was first defined by Richard Dawkins in 1976
as "a unit of cultural information" spread from one mind to another.
In other words, a viral idea that eventually becomes common knowledge.

Fast forward three decades, and it seems to me that technology has turbo-charged the meme process.  Looking for the juste mot
to describe a "purposeful" meme fed into the vast human network of the
Internet, either by blog, email, video, phonecast, social media or
other viral means, beme seems to fit the bill. 

A beme is a turbo-charged meme made possible entirely by the
existence of the network affect.  A beme can be impactful because it is
lurid–a photo of a panty-less Britney Spears, or humorous–a
whimisical video of the band OKGO on treadmills, or gut-wrenching–the
sad tirade by comedian Michael Richards.  A beme can cement an idea
with the public in a way that cannot be legislated or regulated.  No
legal effort by Cisco to enforce a trademark, for example, will make
the public unlearn that Apple produces the iPhone.

  • A meme is old media, a beme is new media.
  • A meme takes off by accident, a beme by design.
  • A meme can take years to surface, a beme hours.