Examples of Memes

Examples of Memes (from Memes.org)

Jingles: advertising slogans set to an engaging melody

Earworms: songs that one can't stop humming or thinking about.


Proverbs and aphorisms: for example: “You can't keep a good man down," "The early bird gets the worm," or "Waste not, want not."

Snippets of gossip. (He's a "player") (She's a "golddigger")

Nursery rhymes: propagated from parent to child over many generations (thus keeping otherwise obsolete words such as “tuffet” and “chamber” in use), sometimes with associated actions and movements.

Children's culture: games, activities and chants (such as taunts) typical for different age-groups.

Santa Claus as a meme. The principle of abundance, generosity.

Epic poems: once important memes for preserving oral history; writing has largely superseded their oral transmission.

Conspiracy theories, superstitions, UFO aliens, Martians.

Fashions, neckties, skirts, colors, brands.

Medical and safety advice: “Don't swim for an hour after eating” or “Steer in the direction of a skid”.

The material of video technology: very memetic given its mass replication — people tend to imitate scenes or repeat popular catch phrases such as “You can't handle the truth!” from A Few Good Men or “Alllllllrighty then!” from Ace Ventura, even if they have not seen a film or a television broadcast themselves.

Religions: complex memes, including folk religious beliefs, such as The Prayer of Jabez.

Popular concepts: these include Freedom, Justice, Ownership, Open Source, Egoism, or Altruism

Group-based biases: everything from anti-semitism and racism to cargo cults.

Longstanding political memes such as “mob rule”, national identity, Yes Minister and “republic, not a democracy”.

Programming paradigms: from structured programming and object-oriented programming to extreme programming.

Internet phenomena: Internet slang. “Internet memes” propagate quickly among users using email, websites, blogs, discussion boards and other Internet communications as a medium.

Moore's Law: this meme has a particularly interesting form of self-replication. The conviction that “semiconductor complexity doubles every 18 months” became considerably more than a predictive observation; it became a performance-target for an entire industry once that industry extensively started to believe in the “law”. Manufacturers now strive to make the next generation of semiconductor technology re-create the growth in performance of the previous generation, and so maintain belief in Moore's Law. Additionally, the evolution of this meme provides details of interest. The original law described growth in terms of the number of transistors on a chip, but people - more and more -- have (wrongly) understood it as describing an increase in terms of performance. This could exemplify how a meme can mutate slowly under the pressure of its environment (partial technical understanding and simplification for use in the mainstream media).

Consciousness and the self: Susan Blackmore theorized that a “self” merely comprises a collection of memetic stories which she calls the selfplex.

Metameme: The concept of memes itself comprises a meme.

Anecdotes: Short jokes or other stories.

Phrases; A turn of phrase, or expression, like “Whasssssap!” or “Where's the beef?” or the Internet meme “all your base are belong to us!”

Viral marketing: A type of marketing based on memes and using “word of mouth” to advertise (see the recent example of Snakes on a Plane).