Classification of groups, and the meme propagation process

A ‘meme’ is conceived by the second group, which if successful is picked up by the third group, and is propagated to the first group. An example is the alt-right. The third group act as a liaison between fringe ideas and voters.

First group: older and middle-aged people who on Facebook, and are very numerous but hidden, kinda like Nixon’s ‘silent majority’ (Facebook profiles tend to be private, unlike Twitter); they share political articles with their respective ‘tribes’, and are very influential in national politics because this demographic has the highest voter turnout.

Second group: emotive younger people who mostly use Twitter, and although there aren’t as many as the first group, they are highly influential when their memes and ideas are propagated by the third group; they tend to have very partisan political views. The second group also includes the 4chan ‘meme army’. The second group rose to preeminence in 2008 during Obama campaign, and then much more so in 2016. This also includes alt-right websites and blogs, most of which rose to prominence sometime in 2014 or so.

Third group: journalists, bloggers, and pundits of established partisan political blogs and websites; sites include, Zero Hedge, Pajama Media, New York Times, Washington Post, Huffington Post. This group rose to preeminence in the late 90’s during the Clinton scandals, and heavily influences the first group.

Forth: ‘rationalists and ‘centrists’, who are mostly on Reddit and Hacker News; read blogs and sites such as Slate Star Codex, Marginal Revolution, The Economist, Priceonomics, The Money Illusion, and Wait But Why, and tend to be less swayed by emotive narratives than the first three; less numerous but are influential in academia and online. [1] Oddly enough, due to high IQ and various ‘shared narratives’ [2], the forth and second tend to be ‘frenemies’ (like we see with Tyler Cowen and Nick Land, rationalists and reactionaries, etc.).

Fifth: the indifferent…those who don’t care at all about politics, economics, rationality, etc.; all ages; numerous.

[1] The forth group is the most interesting because it arose as sort of backlash against the first three. The rapid and somewhat unexpected post-2013 rise of this group prompted posts such as Intellect: The Universal Solvent, The Rise of ‘Concern Liberalism’, etc. It’s unexpected because intuition would dictate that high-IQ, rationalist sites would not stand a chance in a news cycle dominated celebrity gossip, sports, and partisan politics, but these sites are booming. The 2008 and 2012 elections were divisive and expectations for Obama were high, and ‘rationalism’ rose in response to the failure of partisan politics (both in terms of G. W. Bush and Obama) to effect meaningful socioeconomic change. Rationalists, unlike the first three groups, are skeptical/critical of the democratic process, arguing that politics and democracy tend to be irrational. The rapid success of ‘boring‘ centrist blogs such as Tyler Cowen’s Marginal Revolution, the rise of ‘boring, minimalist, and mundane millennial culture’ and data visualizations (Wait But Why), is evidence of this trend. Rationalists, rather than trying to change things, instead try to understand why things are the way they are, and then capitalize on this knowledge to maximize their own well-being.

[2] Such as rejection of boring, predictable, low-information discourse; skepticism of democracy and majoritarianism.