Teresa Ovalle

Welcome to Me

Meme and You – How Memes Need to Spread to Go Viral

As soon as I became a Facebook member, I noticed a good number of photos with verbal layovers.  I didn’t realize what they were or that they had a name – the meme – until this class.  Most of the memes I’ve seen have been simple, fun and clever.

I’ve seen memes transformed and I’ve seen them imitated.  I think their potential for virality is equal.  There are so many examples of each type of meme and to say that one has a propensity to go viral over another would be challenging to prove.  I think it depends on whose inbox the meme hits and whether that person wants to imitate or transform it.  In general, a meme is easy to create, it’s the virality that’s challenging.

According to Rice, “Memes are easy to make, but virality depends on novelty, cleverness, and luck, all of which thwart the duplicative craft of advertising.”  I tend to agree.  Although it took someone time to create a photo meme, it seems simple; almost as though anyone could do it.  I think novelty, cleverness and luck are important components of virality.  Novelty means that you have something new and unique, something that hasn’t been shared yet.  Cleverness means that the meme is catchy in some way and either makes people laugh, think or laugh and think.   Luck means that of all the millions of social media users, that one meme hit the right group of people at the right time to go viral.  As Rice puts it, “Successful memes self-replicate, like genes in the cultural ecosystem.”  I think that’s true, but novelty, cleverness and luck do help the process.
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You Will Not Be Forgotten

Country Singer Brad Paisley sang a song called Online about a kid who was everything you didn’t want to be, but when he was online, the kid was everything you wish you could be.  Here is a verse of the song:

“’Cause online, I’m out in Hollywood

I’m 6 foot 5, and I look damn good

I drive a Maserati, I’m a black-belt in karate

And I love a good glass of wine”

The song was written in 2007 when people still managed to have an offline persona and an online persona.  People could be who they wanted to be, not who they really were.  This is a good example of the hyperpersonal model – people could self-edit their online personalities to be who they wish they were.
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ICM522 Module 5 – Viral Videos

This was a very neat project.  I had to choose to commercial (as in enterprise) viral video and a noncommercial viral video to discuss regarding how the each campaign used social media and whether or not I thought the campaign was successful.

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Big Brother, Facebook and Algorithms

In the book, 1984, George Orwell tells a story of a man, Winston Smith, who is being watched at every move by Big Brother, the omniscient party leader.  Those were days of old.

In the 21st century, it’s likely that Big Brother is still watching you, but surfing is his primary way to reach into your world.  He surfs algorithms of every online program with every button you push on your keyboard.  He anticipates your next move in ractions of a second with information that he has already collected from you for as long as he’s known you.  He is still omniscient, but much more powerful than he was in 1984.

Knowing that Big Brother is watching can be scary.  As Gillespie wrote, “And algorithms are made and remade in every instance of their use because ever click, every query, changes the tool incrementally.”  (pg. 7) Every piece of information we provide online allows Big Brother to collect, process and stand ready for our next keystroke.  It turns out that algorithms can be our friends.  Yes, they surf and mine our data, but they do it for us – don’t they?
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Cornered Cat – a Great Community for Gun-Toting Women

This week’s assignment was about communities in social media.  I chose Cornered Cat, which is a great go-to site for women who are interested in firearms.

I wanted to show you the Facebook pages I choose, as well.

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Elegant Organization and Created Discoverable Communities

When I googled ‘elegant organization’, a variety of references appeared.  Two businesses wanted to help me get organized and help me ‘let go of stuff’, there were several images of very neat and clutter free rooms, and there was the video referencing Zuckerber’s ‘elegant organization’ comment.

I also looked up the definitions of elegant and organization.  The definition of elegant is “appropriate to refined taste” and the definition of organization is “the state or manner of being organized.”  If I were to paraphrase these two definitions together, I would say, “an organized group with refined tastes.”  Perhaps this is what Zuckerberg was referring to.

If this were the case, then I think he had it right in that bringing people together does take certain elegant organization.  People want a flow to their lives, a lack of clutter and a communal feeling.  If a company or organization can offer an elegant organization – a certain way for people to communicate – a community will follow.  If not, people will either find another community or build their own.

Social media is everywhere and so are communities.  It takes only a moment to type a preferred community choice into Facebook to find a group of like-minded people waiting to accept you.  The possibilities are endless.

Discovering or creating a community hasn’t always been this simple, however, as Shirky states, “We used to pursue our intrinsic motivations in private, either alone or among family and friends.” (Pg. 95) Not until the internet arrived, was there a social search engine.  In the past, it took hard work to find new communities outside the ones we were already accustomed to.  I think if would have been difficult to ask family, friends and acquaintances if they new of a particular group that I was interested in, especially if it was outside of the norm.  I think it would have been even more difficult to start a new community.  A person would have to advertise and build awareness, find a meeting place and physically have to be present at the community gatherings.  That’s a lot of work.  Thank goodness for the social media.

Human nature calls us to connect with others.  Social media allows us to connect in a number of ways through elegant organizations.  Any person can join a number of communities, all fulfilling a need or want in that person’s life.  Each community is created and discoverable by those wanting and looking.





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How Are You Influenced?

Have you ever been influenced to make a purchase or do something significant by someone in your personal and/or social networks?

I am an avid Facebook user because of my influencers, or perhaps they are saleswomen.  I avoided Facebook for a while until one fateful day I was bombarded with emails to join.  The emails weren’t from just anybody; the emails were from my close friends.   I couldn’t spend time with these close friends because of distance.  Their emails were the straws that broke this non-Facebook user’s back.  Now I’m hooked.  Thanks, guys…

I can’t say that I’ve been influenced to make a purchase by my social media friends.  I may ask what a certain group thinks about a particular product, but I rely more on the five- and one-star reviews (weak ties) to help me decide whether to purchase or not.  If I’m struggling with a choice between two items, I’ll buy the two items, compare them, return one of the items, and post my findings on Facebook.  This ties directly into Content Nation – the self-publisher.   It’s fun to test the products and publish the results for people.  I end up choosing the best product for me and my friends get a favorable review that they can use to purchase their own product.

Although I take the reviews from product sites into account for my purchase decisions, I also have a few mavens that I use regularly.  Kris is my tech maven.  Anytime I need advice on the purchase of a tech-type gadget, Kris is my girl.  Erica is my one-stop-shop for small business questions.  When I have a work related question, I call Brenda.  Nikki is a self-defense, security and firearms expert, who I turn to for help in these areas.  Mavens are definitely the most important and powerful influencers in my network.  I trust what they say and listen with intent.

I have also become a maven in my pistol group – for both the men and women.  I am often asked about my firearms choices, where I buy my firearms, and my opinion on a number of firearms related issues.  I enjoy sharing my knowledge and opinions with like-minded people, so I particularly enjoy being a maven in this group.

This quote sums it up nicely.  “… If you give people a way to act on their desire for autonomy and competence or generosity and sharing, they might take you up on it …” Cognitive Surplus, pg. 95.

I give my opinion to anyone who asks.

How about by someone famous OUTSIDE your personal network?

I had to think about this for a few minutes.  I don’t track celebrities.  I don’t follow them.  I don’t ‘like’ them.  Celebrities do not influence my decision to purchase a product.

However, in my maven paragraph above, I mentioned Nikki.  Because of what she does for a living, she chooses not to use social media.  Although she is not famous, Nikki is inside my network, but outside of my social network.

Are you more influenced by individuals with which you have strong ties, such as connectors or mavens in your network? OR Are you more influenced by larger groups of friends with weaker ties outside your immediate network?

I am definitely influenced by those closest to me.  I trust what they say to be accurate and believable.

Why do you think you were influenced in the way you were?

I’m influenced by weak ties (reviews) because they give me perspective of the product I plan to buy.  The reviews give me the good and the bad, which help me make a balanced decision.  I’m also influenced by my strong ties because they are people I trust, respect and expect good information from.


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Read-Write and Copyleft

“The U.S. Department of Creativity is closed until further notice because there is no longer any open-source information to use to create new products.  All information is now under copyright laws until 2035.”  (Ovalle)

Imagine a world where every piece of information created, personal or otherwise, was copyrighted – automatically – without question.  This is an excessive thought and unlikely to happen – thankfully – but shows the importance of Lessig’s Read-write theory as well as copyleft laws.

At the Constitutional Convention 1787, Congress created the Copyright Clause that stated, “congress shall have the power: To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”  (The first copyright laws were limited to 14 years, plus an additional 14 years if the author was alive and could apply for a second term.  Additionally, if the author did not have proper documentation, his works were immediately put into the public domain.)

The current copyright laws state that the author holds the rights to his works for 70 years beyond his death.  In some cases, that could imply that some of this generation’s greatest works could not be recreated or re-visioned for close to 170 years.  That is a very limiting factor for a generation that lives in 144 characters or less.

I agree with Lessig’s suggestion that during the 20th century, we were a ‘read-only’ society that consumed creativity.  But as consumers we were not creators.  As a teen-ager in the 80’s, I consumed television shows and music as much as any other kid.  However, as part of a read-only society, I did not have the capacity to create – or recreate – user generated content to share with others.  The art of creating was limited to those with equipment and the ability to share.

Fast forward 30 years.  A quick Yahoo! search estimates that there are well over one million videos on YouTube.  I’m certain that a very large percentage of these videos are user generated content created and recreated by amateurs.  This is an example of what Lessig was referring to as a read-write generation.  People are creating and recreating new information as amateurs.

A quick look at my personal Facebook page shows that I’ve shared hundreds of photos and recreated images with family and friends.  I am an amateur and love creating and sharing things with my family and friends.  Both the YouTube and Facebook references suggest that Lessig is right; that this generation is a part of read-write movement.  The people who participate in social media are not only consumers, but they are “participating in the creation and recreation of their culture.” (Lessig)

I think the copyleft laws have a lot to do with the read-write movement.  The typical copyright laws have created a long delay in the use of free knowledge in that the materials are under copyright laws for such an extended amount of time, that the knowledge isn’t free to use for generations.  This could stunt creativity for generations.  Copyleft laws, however, allow for limited control of the product by the author, but also allow the consumer an opportunity to use the same material with restrictions.

For instance, I may be a literary software genius and want to share my new grammar software with others, but I want to protect my product.  To ensure my software is protected, but still make it available to those interested, I can choose from four different restriction levels:

Freedom 0 – the freedom to use the work,

Freedom 1 – the freedom to study the work,

Freedom 2 – the freedom to copy and share the work with others,

Freedom 3 – the freedom to modify the work, and the freedom to distribute modified and therefore derivative works. (Wikipedia)

The copyleft laws help keep free information free with some restrictions to protect the author’s work.  This seems like a fair deal and opens the world up to generations of creators and recreators re-visioning their cultures.


Lessig, L. (2007). Larry Lessig on laws that choke creativity [Video]. Presentation given at TED2007, Monterey, CA. [Link]

Sony Bono Copyright Term Extension Act


How Many Videos Are on YouTube?




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TED Talks with Lawrence Lessig

This was a fantastic TED Talks with Lawrence Lessig.  He discussed how we used to be a “Read/Write” society and have moved away from that.  Now with the digital technology available at our (kids’) fingertips, we can go back to the “Read/Write” kind of world, but only if we allow free, or semi-free knowledge to be shared.


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How to Ruin Facebook

Some day someone other than the students and professors in my program will read my blog and respond and comment to things like this.  Until then, I’ll have to keep amazing myself with my internet finds.


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