Mind Wars:- Attack of the Memes Copyright © Martin Overton, IBM, All Rights Reserved Mind Wars: Attack of the Memes
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AbstractMemes are contagious ideas, all competing for a share of our mind in a kind of Darwinian selection. Many hoaxes and their kin are Memes which are now commonly spread via e-mail and web sites. They are at the very least a nuisance, and in many companies they are causing major problems with wasted bandwidth and lost productivity. No matter how silly a hoax is, it still hits the support and infrastructure budget. Magnify this by the number of different hoaxes, urban legends and scams that are circulating within a company at any one time, now add the cost of trying to counter it, and the problem becomes more focused and expensive. This paper will look at common Memes spread via e-mail and ways to counter them and get your staff back to work instead of wasting their time (and your money) propagating them. It will also endeavour to answer the following questions: • How do I get my staff to stop sending hoaxes, etc. around? • How do I stop or minimise their penetration within my company and manage them when they do get in? • How can virus hoaxes, other hoaxes, chain letters, etc. be successfully defused? • What other resources, sites should I use? This paper was written for, and presented at the Open University: Combating Vandalism in Cyberspace conference at the OU in Milton Keynes on March 4th 2004.