Traffic alone does not a meme make.

But if you want to be successful in "contagious media", it appears that you’ll still need the help of meta-sites like Slashdot, Metafilter and Fark. This, at least, is a determination made by Mark Glasser on the heels of the Contagious Media Showdown.

While some are quick to classify “most popular websites” as memes, I would argue that these are not necessarily memes just because they are "viral" in the sense marketers use (that is, getting a lot of traffic). Truth be told, “viral” simply means that your message is talked about, or replicated, outside of the confines of your media buy; all truly “good” marketing is already viral, whether online or off, but getting internet traffic does not necessarily mean that you have a meme.

A meme has to have the right mix of fidelity, fecundity and longevity. Obvioulsy, digital media do a lot to preserve the fidelity of an idea. And longevity is why books haven't gone anywhere (your email, however, may not provide the best longevity... and your IM is terrible at providing an idea with longevity). But fecundity can be more tricky; it's not mere eyeballs you get on your site, it's how much your message sticks to existing ideas in the brains behind those eyeballs, and how likely those brains are to replicate the message. Successful memes are more culturally (or sub-culturally) relevant than a page-view; this is why they "stick" to ideas your brain is already carrying.

Here's an example of what I mean when I say traffic is not a true measure of a meme: Of all the web sites you've seen or forwarded to someone else, how many of them do you actually remember - without checking your Sent folder or your Bookmarks? Why?

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