INTERNET IS SERIOUS BUSINESSThe idea of the meme as a cat picture, rage face, or Advice Dog isover.“Memes” are so mainstream that they’ve now been co-opted bymarketers for brands like SmartWater, VitaminWater and ComedyCentral.Cheezburger bought Know Your Meme for a reported seven figuresin 2011.
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEMESThe concept of the Internet meme (and the generation that made itfamous) is aging.Communities like Reddit and (maybe) 4chan that became popular bystarting memes—and saw those memes appropriated for profit—nowwant to be taken more seriously.Memes as we know them may be over, but the lessons we’velearned about how to make something “viral” can still be useful.
WITH GREAT VIRALITY COMES GREAT RESPONSIBILITYMemes as tools to spread serious information. Memes as journalism?ex.: BuzzFeed hires professional journalists, partners with The NewYork Times for election coverage. How does this change things?How should popular curators decide what’s worthy of promotion?What responsibilities do they have to their audiences?What if you’re just posting to a small Tumblr or deciding what toupvote on Reddit?
HOW (AND WHY) TO MAKE SOMETHING GO VIRALIs there inherent value in “viral?”How can we separate the valuable from the pointless, theuninteresting and the unfunny? (Should we even try?)What’s the difference between something viral and news? (Is thereeven a difference?)
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? What are memes going to be when they grow up? What will journalism look like on the post-meme Internet? (What should it look like?) What happens to the already-blurry line between “viral” and news?