Andreas Ervik: From anonymous trolling to mainstream politics: Electing a meme for president.
Andreas Ervik presents a chapter from his thesis. The thesis develops a digital biology using theoretical and empirical material from biology to analyze the development of digital systems. Starting from the emergence of early computational experimentation the project moves into mainstream adoption, the development of internetworking and the formation of social media profiles and communities. Searching for similarities of process between digital and organic systems, digital evolution is analyzed through research on microorganisms, plants, fungi, animals and social structure formation. The chapter presented here deals with the latter of these, conceptualizing internet communities through the passing of threshold from animal to human communities. The central part of online communities in focus here is Internet memes. Memes were originally coined by Richard Dawkins as a cultural equivalent for the genetic unit of natural selection, but have since mutated into designating mostly funny images circulated online. The chapter centers on memes of Donald Trump, and the notion emerging in online communities of ‘electing a meme for president’.
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