AdAge today has a story on Internet memes, which Wikipedia (as of May 8, 2006 at 12:41am) defines as:
An Internet phenomenon (sometimes called an Internet meme) occurs when something relatively unknown becomes increasingly popular, often quite suddenly, through the mass propagation of media content made feasible by the Internet; however, the popularity of the phenomenon usually wanes as rapidly as it was acquired: the Internet’s lack of physical boundaries leads to a much faster and wider spread of information and ideas, especially when the subject is based around humor or curiosity. It is nearly impossible to accurately measure the depth of a phenomenon’s popularity, and different groups of Internet users may participate in spreading the phenomenon more than others.
The irony is that this AdAge story about Internet memes is behind the organization’s paid subscription wall as I write this post. Given the aura and curiosity around the mere subject of Internet memes, this seems like one topic and story that AdAge should blatantly release freely, versus making it undiscoverable, unreadable and incapable of viral dissemination.
Lastly, I have to disagree with Wikipedia’s definition, which asserts that it is nearly impossible to accurately measure the depth of an Internet meme’s popularity. I guess I should go edit the entry.
(Internet memes are based on the notion of memes.)