Maybe I’m slow to pick up on this, but I discovered the “20 signs” phenomenon this morning, RSS be praised. We’ve got the 21 signs that you don’t somebody’s online marketing pitch, the 20 signs you don’t want that web design project, the 20 signs you don’t want that social media project and the 20 signs you don’t want that internal social media project. And those are just the ones I breadcrumbed myself to this morning. Google can provide you with plenty more examples.
One of the sites calls the “20 signs” thing a “memette.” A meme, as my AP-approved dictionary defines it, is a “unit of cultural information… that spreads from person to person in a way analogous to the transmission of genes.” The Wikipedia is, of course, on top of the Internet meme definition, which is just a more specific type of the above-defined. A memette, then, must be smaller than a regular meme, perhaps more limited in scope.
In reality, I suspect a memette must be a meme that has not yet become hugely popular. It’s an immature form of a fully developed meme, much like a tadpole is not yet a fully grown frog. When the “20 signs” thing takes off, people will eventually call it a meme, if they haven’t already.
(By the way, meme is just a jargony word for “fad,” the same way leveraged is just babble that means “use to your advantage” or simply “use.”)
Of course, can anything that David Letterman made famous about 20 years ago become a meme today? Well, I suppose Letterman’s lists are a different creature, aren’t they. After all, they’ve only got 10 items to this memette’s 20.
And now for the 20 signs that the word meme is overused…