More Research Ideas – the Development of Memes?

Below I have begun to discuss what I hope to be a more stable approach to my YouTube research:

How YouTube memes evolve?
How they begin, how they spread and how they develop?

Viral video = a video clip that is rapidly spread over the Internet, by way of social networking sites, blogs, forums and email. It becomes ‘viral’ spreading quickly and multipying like a virus.
Internet memes, including YouTube memes (memes that were ‘born’ on YouTube), are often created from popular viral videos.

A ‘meme’ = an idea, or “information”, that is spread from person to person via imitation.
The typical definition of ‘meme’ = ‘something imitated’. The origin of the word ‘meme’ is an abbreviation of the Greek word ‘mimeme’ (pronounced like ‘my-meme’) which literally translates as ‘something imitated’.
Imitation is often in the form of remixes, parodies and spoofs.

Viral video stimulates vernacular creativity in YouTube users to take the original video and replicate all or just parts of it to create something ‘new’ (a remix or a parody of the original video) – but with elements of the original video still present, so that the ‘new’ video created (the ‘meme’) is still associated with the original video.
This is turn attracts participation of other YouTube users where that meme is then re-uploaded exactly as it is in order to increase awareness and popularity of the meme, or it is again remixed or parodied. This creates a participatory culture within YouTube, inviting anyone to create their own versions of the memes and to participate in the ‘community’ of YouTube users.

How a meme develops –
The original video can be anything from a TV or film clip, a news clip, a personal home video, a video blog (or ‘vlog’), or any of the numerous “bedroom culture” videos where users upload videos of themselves singing, dancing, etc in their bedrooms. Once uploaded to YouTube, the video can be shared and spread via any means of communication – email, blogs, forums, and social networking sites to name a few – and soon the video becomes ‘viral’. This leaves the video open to remixes, parodies and direct imitations (Memes).

The evolution of YouTube memes – how they can “cross over” into mainstream media such as TV and print.
Example: ‘LOLCats’ – icanhascheezburger.com, as well as many other publishers, have released books about the LOLCats, and LOLCats have appeared on t-shirts, calendars, posters, and other saleable merchandise.
Other YouTube meme “stars” like Zay Tonday (Chocolate Rain), Charlie and Harry (Charlie Bit My Finger), and Gary Brolsma (Numa Numa) have appeared in TV interviews and chat shows.

The lifespan of a YouTube meme – the end?
I believe a YouTube meme will never completely cease to exist, as there will always be somebody who comes across the video who hasn’t seen it before and then will share it and spread it around again to others, but I do believe that after a certain amount of time the video meme will lose some of the interest of the majority of its ‘audience’, especially if it has been around for a long time, or when the next ‘big’ meme is created.

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