Do You 'Know Your Meme'?

By 08/05/2008
Do You 'Know Your Meme'?

So, daily video blog Rocketboom – whose Boing Boing-inspired newscast of internet and cultural ephemera – signed a (count ‘em) seven figure distribution deal with Sony Pictures Television.

That means the crew at Rocketboom, with an influx of cash and time, will be able to expand their roster beyond their flagship offering and Pop17. I’m hoping they’ll do more to edify the internet-ignorant public on how to Know Your Meme.


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First, so we can understand our terms and I can stop explaining to my friends every time I talk about 4chan (Aside: I’m fun at dinner parties), here’s Wikipedia’s answer for, “WTF is a meme?”

“Any learned feeling, thought or behavior. Examples include thoughts, ideas, theories, practices, habits, songs, dances and moods. Memes propagate themselves and can move through a sociological “culture” in a manner similar to the behavior of a virus. As a unit of cultural evolution, a meme in some ways resembles a biological gene. Richard Dawkins, in his book The Selfish Gene, recounts how and why he coined the term meme to describe how one might extend Darwinian principles to explain the spread of ideas and cultural phenomena. He gave as examples tunes, catch-phrases, beliefs, clothing-fashions, and the technology of building arches.”

The break-neck pace of internet time and the medium’s inherently global connectivity have made an environment ripe for the creation and transmission of memes. The problem is, for the purposes of understanding inside jokes and cultural phenomena, how do you keep track of them all? That’s where Rocketboom‘s helpful cliff notes comes in handy.

The idea for Know Your Meme was originally conceived as way to produce evergreen content that would allow Rocketboom to keep pumping out shows while everyone was on vacay for the Winter holidays. The first installment took a look at the awesome appeal of one-take videos, then came the RickRoll, the turtle kid, and so on, and so forth.

My favorite – and Urlesque‘s – is the series’ recent look at the can’t-tell-if-this-is-so-bad-that-I-should-feel-sad-for-this-girl-or-maybe-it’s-so-bad-because-it-has-secret-corporate-backing little bit of wonderful that is tinaemusic. Per normal, the host educates the viewer on the meme’s vital stats, gives an abridged history, and then delves deeper:

It’s a great series worthy of more attention. If done consistently, the internet could eat this type of one-stop video learning center for memes right up.

With Rocketboom‘s new partnership and added resources, they could also tastemake an undiscovered internet celeb for a host while they’re at it. Get Elie or Jdubs on it. They both could use a show in which to shine.

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