Memi is the word (definitely)!

Tags: |
POSTED: January 13, 2007

In the back of my mind I have felt that the word memexie was wrong since the moment I coined it. It sounds as though it comes from a bad fifties science fiction film. The name suggests that either it is the title of a dignitary from a visiting star system (“Commander, the Memexie from Altair 7 has arrived on board!”) or it is an unlikely piece of technical equipment (“Switch on the memexie. It will enable us to track him by triangulating his psi-waves!”).

The starting point, Cohn’s reference to Vannevar Bush’s essay How We May Think, published in the July 1945 issue of The Atlantic Monthly, was fine. It was the next steps that were wrong.

Over a post-Christmas glass of wine another route from memex to here suggested itself like this:

Memex > meme > me me > memi

Several weeks, and some thought, later I can expand this into a full explanation as necessary, although the steps seem logical to me. Moreover the term memi has many advantages over anything else I have though up.

1. It has two syllables like most interesting online innovations. (See also bliki, email, google, hotmail, napster, trackback, web log, wiki, yahoo.)

2. It is easily pronounceable.

3. The only obvious mispronounciation is me-my which is arguably as fitting as me-me.

4. The homages to Bush and Dawkins are implicit rather than a lame attempt to hang onto some passing coat-tails.

Happy 2007, one and all!