Before a meme was a poorly dancing shark or an indecipherable dress, it was a term coined by eminent biologist Richard Dawkins to describe how ideas can spread and evolve under a process akin to evolution by natural selection. Today’s concept of memes is not quite what Dawkins had in mind, but by using the scientific concept behind them, we can get a better feel for how some ideas spread like wildfire through parched grass and others quietly burn out.
YouTube explainer extraordinaire CGP Grey doesn’t use the term “memes” in his latest video, but he uses the same idea of ideas evolving to better spread themselves. Specifically, Grey characterizes ideas as “thought germs” aiming to spread themselves around the internet.
In short, ideas that hack our emotions, ideas that make us angry, go viral.
There’s no guarantee that appealing to emotions will make your next post reverberate around the social media echo chamber, but at least there’s science to say that emotions are the way in. Also, you’re wrong about how good your favorite sports team is, better share this post to show that I’m definitely wrong about that.