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Charles Darwin Tagged You in a Note on Facebook: The evolutionary roots of Facebook’s “25 Things” craze

Posted in Uncategorized by Rodibidably on February 18, 2009

[Originally posted at: Slate]

Last week, I enlisted Slate readers to help divine how Facebook’s “25 Random Things About Me” trend got started. More than 3,000 of you responded, answering queries on when you first saw a “25 Things” note, when you were first tagged, and when (if ever) you wrote your own note. On one level, the survey was a failure: I had hoped to find the trend’s Patient Zero, but there’s likely no single person who conceived of this scheme. But the absence of a singular “25 Things” creator reveals something much more interesting: Facebook organisms are not created by intelligent design. They evolve.

The idea that culture spreads in biological ways has been around for a while. Richard Dawkins coined the term meme in 1976’s The Selfish Gene to describe how ideas propagate according to evolutionary principles of mutation and selection. A quantitative study of the “25 Things” letter seems to ratify that.

[Read the rest of this post at: Slate]

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