The internet has accelerated social communications and memetics more than it has fundamentally changed it (though it has altered some of the selection pressures on individual memes, namely around memory retention and expression). It has also, through mechanisms like Twitter and specifically ReTweets, made the exchange of cultural units much more open to quantitative analysis and testing. Through the keyhole of ReTweeting I believe it is possible to get a glimpse of the answers to the larger question of why and how humans spread information in a way that was never before possible.
I’ve studied characteristics from pre-web memetic channels (like urban legends, rumors, slang, oral tradition and proverbs) and many of the traits I found there I’ve also found when looking into ReTweets. Namely concepts like communal recreation, social proof, information cascades, knowledge gaps, novelty and utility.
Being that I come at this opportunity from a marketing background, I look to this analysis to build a framework for repeatably creating contagious memes, so this presentation from PubCon Austin aims to do just that for ReTweets.