Monthly Archives: October 2013

The fun thing about Memes

Monday is always considered to be the worst day of the week.  So today I woke up tired and low of energy after two weeks of break. I had a shower, made my bed and took the bus on gorgeous Bondi Beach (even more depressing).  After one hour and two buses, I arrived at UNSW and as I was about to complain about my Monday the Online and Mobile Media lecture number 10 started: INTERNET MEMES. I have to say, fun topic for a lecture.

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Almost anyone who has had access to the Internet has seen a Meme. Whether they have understood it, ignored it or laughed at it is a matter of personality, cultural background, age, genre or language among others.

As common as they are, Internet memes have been a topic of interest for professionals across many disciplines including sociologists, media professional, anthropologists and marketers. Internet memes are part of today’s culture as they express human creativity and identity through humorous, shareable content

Part III of the book  The Social Media Reader,  is dedicated to Humor and one of the chapters that we had to read for the course was Patrick Davison’s article, “The language of Internet Memes” in which the author describes:

“An Internet meme is a piece of culture, typically a joke, which gains influence through online transmissions”

The word “Meme” was first discussed by British Biologist Richard Dawkins in the book The Selfish Gene published in 1976 where the author refers to a meme as the cultural equivalent of a biological gene that signifies transmission via mimetic imitation”.  

The word ‘meme’ comes from mimeme Ancient Greek word for ‘something imitated’ and that is in fact what Memes tend to achieve. They are content that needs to be created, produced, adapted and ultimately imitated, this specific characteristics are the ones that allow Internet memes to differentiate themselves from other viral content.

With the rapid development of the Internet, and specifically social media, sharing content has become not only easier but one of the most popular activities of Social Network Sites. The fact that hundreds, thousands and millions of people can easily share photos, videos and all sorts of content has encouraged regular individuals to become content creators.

An Internet meme can be very simple to produce. Basic memes require a good idea, a defined target audience, a visual or a photo and a text.

Make-meme-get-likes-get-motivated_o_104697

But Internet memes can also become more sophisticated, for instance audiovisual memes require better planning, editing skills and creativity. This was one of the examples that Tom (our tutor) showed us in class:

The fact is that today memes have become a language, people use them to give advice (as shown by Davison with the example of Advice dog’), to make fun of someone or something, in sign of protest about a particular situation they dislike and even for business purposes such as marketers do to sell products and services.

meme pool

Advertising like any other discipline has had to adapt to the rapid development of technology, Internet and most of all Social Media. Today, traditional forms of advertisement such as TV commercials have lost the power of reaching specific target audiences. In the digital era, people changed the TV for YouTube, they often download their favorite TV shows to watch them without being interrupted by ads and who ever does still own a TV can choose to fast forward through the commercial ads and right into the series, movie or show of their preference.

Internet Memes are a fairly new tool in the advertising industry and the brand Old Spice  would agree with me when I say a very powerful tool if put to good use. Old Spice developed one of the most successful advertising campaigns in the past decade starting with the commercial The man your man could smell like released in 2010. The Old Spice man, actor and NFL player, Isaiah Mustafa, became so popular that turned into a meme that is still available in meme creator websites and apps.

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In 2011, Old Spice Guy won the G4’s contest: MEMEFIGHT against Demotivation Poster turning the Old Spice Campaign into an online and offline meme, an icon and most importantly a brand success.

Here is an example of an Old Spice meme.

So it seems Internet memes are not only funny, entertaining and the main reason why people are unable to study or work for long periods of time but they also can help make millions of dollars.

If you want to keep learning more about Internet Memes and are interested in understanding the relevance they have in advertising, marketing and public relations take some time to check out the following:

http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33197/10-Popular-Memes-Masquerading-as-Marketing-Campaigns.aspx

http://knowyourmeme.com

http://www.ruderfinn.co.uk/blogs/dotcom/2013/09/what-every-pr-and-marketing-professional-should-know-about-internet-memes/

If you already know everything about Internet Memes and this post inspired you to make you own, here are some Websites that can help you:

http://www.memecreator.org

http://www.quickmeme.com/caption

http://memegenerator.net

http://www.memecenter.com/memebuilder

Please leave a comment, I would love to know what you think of  Internet Memes.

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Algorithms sound complicated

I realized “Google it!” had become one of the most popular phrases in today’s culture when I heard my father say it to my younger brother when he was failing at explaining how to fix a flat tire over the phone.

It is a fact that Google has immediate answers for almost every question we can think of and that we have all become dependent of having knowledge just a click away.

What happened if

During this week’s reading, ‘The Algorithm’, in Planet Google: How a company is transforming our lives, Randall Stross (2008) writes:

“An algorithm is the set of rules for solving a particular problem; it’s the essential building block used in constructing complex computer software.”

As complicated as algorithms sound (and they are in fact very sophisticated) they can be explained as computer programs that look for clues to give you back exactly what you want.” If not for algorithms, for every question we type on a search engine, millions of webpages would appear instead of relevant information in response to our question.

From complicated algorithms to answers the power of Google’s search engine relies on algorithms that have over 200 “clues” to actually guess what the answer to each question is and what the user is really looking for. As discussed during this week’s lecture, Algorithms have been changing over the years, improving and being modified constantly to provide a better service to users.  The following is a video of Google experts explaining the evolution of search:

Google’s present to the world

15GOOGLEDOODLE

On September 27th, Google turned 15 years old. The famous search engine celebrated its birthday with a lovely Piñata Google Doodle  and a present to all Google users:  a huge update in its search algorithm called Hummingbird.

Hummingbird is the first major update that the company has released in three years providing an improved service for Google fans. The new Algorithm makes search easier and is capable of answering longer questions, complex information, spoken requests and comparisons.

The name of the new search algorithm means “precise and fast” like a Hummingbird and it combines the 200 “clues” that I mentioned earlier and new technological elements that allow users to ask more complex questions and receive answers.  Danny Sullivan, “search engine guru” published an article in  Search Engine Land that explains how Google’s new algorithm “is a new engine built on both existing and new parts, organised in a way to especially serve the search demands of today, rather than one created for the needs of 10 years ago, with the technologies back then.”

Hummingbird

It was no long ago when we would turn on our enormous PC, plug a cable to the home line, listen to the dial tone and then enjoy expectantly two or five minutes (depending on the connection) of alien sounds. After 15 minutes we were “Online” chatting for hours on ICQ and researching our homework on good old Google, AOL or Yahoo. But technology is exponential and the tools that we enjoy today don’t require patience nor time, today everything is fast, instantaneous.

Hummingbird is part of the exponential development of search and technology. Google is leading the way making significant changes and adding new features that affect 90% of searches. With the changes made to the search algorithm, Google can:

  • Answer follow-up questions
  • Use the Knowledge Graph for comparison and filters
  • Provide a search app on iPhones and iPads that allows users to sink all their devices.
  • Deliver a ‘better look’ on phones and tablets.

Amit Singhal, Senior VP and software engineer at Google says

We’ll keep improving Google Search so it does a little bit more of the hard work for you. This means giving you the best possible answers, making it easy to have a conversation and helping out before you even have to ask. Hopefully, we’ll save you a few minutes of hassle each day. So keep asking Google tougher questions—it keeps us on our toes! After all, we’re just getting started.”

 This blog post was written to honor Google’s 15th anniversary.

If you (like me) love Google, can’t live without it and feel interested on finding out how the Google algorithm works click on the link bellow:

http://www.google.com.au/intl/en/insidesearch/howsearchworks/thestory/

So what do you think? complicated but interesting right? Please comment on this blog post and tell me what think about Algorithms and how they contribute to make your life easier! They sure have helped me while researching for this blog!

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