Memes are the smallest units of cultural meaning. A meme is a unit that carries cultural ideas, behaviors, or styles from one person to another in a culture. Memes carry cultural ideas, symbols, and practices that are transmitted from one mind to another through writing, language, gestures, rituals, or other means that can be imitated. Memes are thought to function like `genes’ in that they self-replicate, mutate, and respond to pressures.
The word `meme’ goes back to the Greek and simply means to imitate or mimic. The term was coined by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in his book, The Selfish Gene, to describe how ideas spread across cultures. Examples include: catchy melodies, phrases, fashions, and technologies.