Leaders politicians teachers and guru’s communicate in their own very special ways.In today’s disruptive world this is more and more evident. The word “Communication “as we use it in the business world has been talked about lectured on and trained into people until we have almost saturated the subject . Whether you are a health professional , a policeman ,a CEO or the president of the United States or whatever it is all about what comes out of your mouth or display publically that leads to imitation and creates followers. Children love to imitate ,they do it all the time and they get rewarded for the degree of accuracy in their mimicary. As adults we do not loose the constant need to copy to be accepted by peers and gain all that power we can have over others .It is an inbuilt human quality it never leaves us.
In the modern world communication is electronic or digital in nature The computer age allows the airwaves to project information and communication just occurs as almost a resultant buy product of eveyday actions and noise
In the days of Ancient Greece where truely great thinkers such as Socrates performed ,people would have to get up from bed and wander down to the market place in there non ironed toga or to the cold auditorium to see and listen to the many great speeches and poems delivered by the great ones .Today all you have to do is sit back in you over heated living rooms ,in your pajamas and wait for the information to arrive at your finger tip or directly in front of of your eyes . Everyperson constantly multi tasks watching the the daily news or the Simpsons whilst communicating on social via media with their smartphones thus communicating to many tens or hundreds or even thousands of people
As a leader in an organisation the abundant emails that get sent and recieved are many soundbites of information and a public display of what is going on and what is on the mind of the organisations community. Many emails are copied to many people. sometimes copies of emails are sent blindly to others , The copying of emails is group talk. It becomes the optic or the television screen monitoring the onging activities of an organisation .The primary reciever of the email is seen by those who have been copied as either doing a great job or as being told off. Purely the tone of an email has an effect. Most people believe in literacy of the tone or the content of emails . The impact of these hundreds of emails and the stories that result around them creates the culture of an organisation or a society.
Currently the facinating story that is unfolding about the president of the unitied states and his entourage is leading the way on how culture can be created . The presidents style pervades through his people. The recent speech given by the US defence advisor putting a foreign country on “notice” is a brand new way of talking. it is a very very powerful rhetoric. I am sure Socrates and aristole would have been incredibly impressed. To put someone on notice is the same as a final written warning and could be seen as a pugilistic threat . The power of those words is awesome and reflects the digital age both in the big wide world and the world of organisations .What someone says and does is instantly seen. There is no room for reajustment for trying something as a learning experience and getting it wrong. It is said people learn from their mistakes but in such a public world there is almost no room to learn ,it has to be right first time.
This bring up the concept of a meme. Many articles are starting to use this word.But what is it?
In 1975 an American anthropologist F. T. Cloak wrote an interesting article . He suggested that culture is acquired in tiny, unrelated snippets of information that he called ‘corpuscles of culture’ or ‘cultural instructions’.
As people love to imitate “something’ that is words and behaviors these somethings can be passed on again, and again, so they take on a life of there own. The something the idea, an instruction, a behaviour, a piece of information … is the meme ,the corpuscle of information .The term ‘meme’ first appeared in 1976, in the great Richard Dawkins’s best–selling book The Selfish Gene. dawkins an interesting character made an odd and interesting transversal connection between communication and biology. It would be very interesting to find out how it made the connections and started the whole discipline of mimetics but he did.
Dawkins came up with a new word “meme”rooted in the Greek. ‘Mimeme’but using a monosyllable that sounds a bit like ‘gene’. As examples, he suggested ‘tunes, ideas, catch–phrases, clothes fashions, ways of making pots or of building arches’ were all these discreet corpuscles or memes. He mentioned scientific ideas that catch on and propagate themselves around the world by jumping from brain to brain. He wrote about religions as groups of memes with a high survival value, infecting whole societies with belief in a God or an afterlife. He talked about fashions in dress or diet, and about ceremonies, customs and technologies –all of which are spread by one person copying another. Memes are stored in human brains (or books or inventions) and passed on by imitation. Dawkins laid the foundations for understanding the evolution of memes. The facinating concept that memes propagatie by jumping from brain to brain, likened them to parasites infecting a host, treated them as physically realised living structures, and showed how mutually assisting memes will gang together in groups just as genes do. These he called memplexes or aggregates of ideas.Most importantly, he treated the meme as a replicator in its own right.
Everything that is passed from person to person in this way is a meme. This includes all the words in a persons vocabulary, the stories they tell,the skills and habits they have picked up from others and the games they like to play. Susan Blackmore in the meme machine says it includes the songs you sing and the rules you obey. So, for example, whenever you drive on the left (or the right!), eat curry with lager or pizza and coke, whistle the theme tune from Neighbours or even shake hands, you are dealing in memes. Each of these memes has evolved in its own unique way with its own history, but each of them is using your behaviour to get itself copied.
Imitation is a kind of replication, or copying, and that is what makes the meme a replicator and gives it its replicator power. You could even say that ‘a meme is whatever it is that is passed on by imitation When I say ‘imitation’ I mean to include passing on information by using language, reading, and instruction, as well as other complex skills and behaviours. Imitation includes any kind of copying of ideas and behaviours from one person to another. So when you hear a story and pass on the gist to someone else, you have copied a meme.
Certain memes have a much better chance of survival and replication than other . Some stories are so compelling that just jump from brain to brain . Often these stories are seen as gossip. Memes such as the boss is about to retire. The boss is looking for another job, the leader is doing something again that is controversial or crazy replicate like mad. certain individuals have better host criteria to allow the meme to jump and certain existing memplexes fit better with specific types of memes . The type of hosts and there existing memplexes are what is culture.
So as a leader how do you know what memes to release. How do you release them?
This brings in the related field of Echo chambers . In news media the term echo chamber is analogous with an acoustic echo chamber , where sounds reverberate in a hollow enclosure. An echo chamber is a metaphorical description of a situation in which information, ideas, or beliefs are amplified or reinforced by communication and repetition inside a defined system. Inside a figurative echo chamber, official sources often go unquestioned and different or competing views are censored disallowed, or otherwise underrepresented.
This echo chamber is another word for organisation or tribe
Observers have recognized that an echo chamber effect is occurring in media conversations A person will made a claim or generate a meme which many like-minded people which represent the perfect host phenotype ( for imitation and reposition )then repeat, overhear, and repeat again (often in an exaggerated or otherwise distorted form) until most people assume that some extreme variation of the story is true.
The echo chamber effect that occurs online is due to a harmonious group of people amalgamating and developing tunnel vision . Participants in online communities may find their own opinions constantly echoed back to them, which reinforces their individual belief systems. This is happening because the Internet has provided access to a wide range of readily available information and people are increasingly receiving their news online through untraditional sources. Companies like Facebook, Google, and Twitter, have established personalization algorithims that release memes to to individuals’ online newsfeeds. The receivers already have strong memplexes in there mind so the new memes jump rapidly .
Organisations and social media are communities which are powerful reinforcers of rumors[ because people trust evidence supplied by their own social group or colleagues This can create significant barriers to critical discourse or change within. Social discussion and sharing suffer when people have a narrow information base and don’t reach outside their network.
The echo chamber effect reinforces one’s own present world view, making it seem more correct and more universally accepted than it really is.Another emerging term for this echoing and homogenizing effect on the Internet within social communities is cultural tribalism .
The possibility of individuals generating memes that replicate and replicate as like minded individuals echo them within the four walls or boundaries of the society is an awesome view of culture and begs the question how can we change or disrupte such an environment that almost self perpetuates,how do we really change the tribe ?