Memes are cultural ideas, behaviors, styles and other items spread in a peer-to-peer fashion mainly via social media platforms on the Internet. Memes possess a symbolic meaning representing a particular phenomenon or theme and act as units for carrying cultural and political ideas, symbols, and practices across space and time. Anthropologists and philosophers tend to view memes as cultural analogues to genes, in that they self-replicate, mutate, and react to changes in the status quo and the ethics of society as a whole. The memes’ lifecycle bears a striking resemblance to that of viral infections that are associated with viral patterns of propagation, as well as the lifecycle of several stock and cryptocurrency markets, characterized by periodic waves of mass adoption, overvaluation and undervaluation.
Memetics – The Meme Network Effect
Just like genes, memes can vary in their ability to replicate. Memes that are successful will remain and spread, while those that are not will be forgotten. Memes can change in meaning while keeping their structure or change in structure while keeping their meaning. These changes can happen randomly or through deliberate actions such as parody. Miltner conducted a study on a well-known meme and its evolution over time. The study found that as the meme became more mainstream, it lost its appeal among its original creators. According to Miltner, as content is shared among different communities, it is interpreted in new ways and takes on new meanings specific to each community. These new meanings are often unrelated to the original intent of the creator. As a result, changes to a meme can turn it into a phenomenon that crosses social and cultural boundaries.
Memes spread in a way similar to how diseases spread, infecting individuals in a pattern similar to the SIR (Susceptible, Infectious, or Recovered) compartmental model frequently applied in epidemiology (Fig. 1). Once enough people have been exposed to a meme, its continued spread is inevitable. A study by Coscia found that while memes compete for attention and have shorter lifespans as a result, they can also work together to survive longer. Interestingly, a meme that experiences a sudden surge in popularity is not expected to survive unless it is unique. On the other hand, a meme without such a surge can continue to be used with other memes and has a greater chance of survival.
Figure 1. Internet memes propagate in a similar pattern to infectious diseases, as shown by this SIR model. The pattern, as depicted in red, shows an initial spike in popularity followed by a gradual taper to obscurity.
All your Base are Belong to Us – The Father of All Memes
Among all Internet memes, “All your base are belong to us” is acknowledged as the first ever viral meme, the father of all memes, the one that started it all. It is a unique and popular “Engrish” catchphrase that dates back to 1991 and grew in popularity as early as in 1998. The quote originally appeared in the opening dialogue of Zero Wing, a 16-bit shoot’em up game released in 1989 on the SEGA Mega Drive, in which the main antagonist, the leader of CATS appears to announce “All your base are belong to us” during an exchange with the ship’s captain. This meme has since then spread and been mentioned by all kinds of companies and public figures, including Elon Musk, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Wired, YouTube, Greg Lindsay from Inside.com, among many others.
The $YoBase token, representing the “All your base are belong to us” meme and movement was launched on April 20th, 2023 on the Ethereum network. $YoBase is a token by the community and for the community, embracing the uniqueness of the underlying meme and powering the movement forward.
The ultimate vision of $YoBase is to perpetuate the meme that started it all, giving emphasis to the roots and history of Internet memes, as well as build the “YoNation”, consisting of a community of people that serves as the key pillar for the development of the first-ever peer-to-peer meme network.
The “YoNation” is an ever-expanding community of people that cherish the power of memes and the network effect associated with them, while paying tribute to the “All your Base Belong to Us” meme. Its goal is to educate people with regard to the power and social/financial impact of Internet memes, and create people who can develop, identify, expand and capitalize on Internet Memes. Everyone is encouraged to join the so-called “YoNation” under this indisputable narrative to perpetuate the most indefatigable Meme on the Internet across the globe.
The next community campaign is bringing All Your Base to the world’s famous Times Square in New York City and beyond.