Mr O’Reilly’s Meme Maps

Thought this article by Mr O’Reilly was interesting for a number of reasons.

1. I hadn’t seen the idea of meme maps before. As much as anything it seems to be an indication of how much the meme meme has propagated.

2. If we assume that the meme is a useful metaphor for understanding thinking and innovation, then one thing this article makes clear is that, certainly in the digital world, to understand fully how memes propagate we need to understand something about the P and something about the P2P. That is People, and People to People Networks.

This is highlighted by the comment that

Another important lesson from Napster is that free riders, “super peers” providing more or better resources, and other variations in peer participation will ultimately decrease the decentralization of the system. Experience is already showing that a hierarchy is starting to emerge. Some users turn off file sharing. Even among those who don’t, some have more files, and some have better bandwidth. As in Orwell’s Animal Farm, all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others. While this idea is anathema to those wedded to the theory of radical decentralization, in practice, it is this feature that gives rise to many of the business opportunities in the peer-to-peer space. It should give great relief to those who fear that peer-to-peer will lead to the leveling of all hierarchy and the end of industries that depend on it.

Just think file = meme, bandwidth = intelligence

That we need to understand something about the P is pretty obvious(!), whether or not you think that people exist ideas to from new ideas or not. But the idea any understanding of knowledge, understanding, reason, creativity – all that caboodle – predicates some understanding of the network through which it all happens – the P2P – is exciting.

O’Reilly Article – Remaking the Peer-to-Peer Meme [Dec. 05, 2000]