Ooh! Back in early February this year I frantically wrote the abstract for my AoIR paper. I wanted to call the phenomenon I was writing about distributed narrative, so I googled the term and found that nobody had used it. I mean there were sentences like “We published a nationally distributed narrative about…” but the two words weren’t used as a descriptive phrase.

Google it now and there are over a thousand usages, most using it the way I meant it! Some of these are references to my talk, but many seem just to be used matter-of-factly with no reference as though one should simply understand.

There’s something rather fascinating about how a term can grow. I bet I had something to do with it, but quite possibly I simply happened to use a combination of words that was sort of ready to emerge from the primordial soup of our brains. Perhaps I’d even heard the term somewhere – I couldn’t find it on Google, but it might have slipped into my mind from somewhere.

And then of course, 1000 references in Google isn’t that much – unless it’s for a weird term that didn’t even exist eight months ago 🙂

3 thoughts on “spread a meme

  1. Jose Angel

    I’ll try to find your paper, Jill, but, I’d suggest, øperhaps you might give us a thumbnail definition of “distributed narratives” here early on in this category? It’s good exercise for the Brain, too, it involves reworking one’s notions.

  2. Jill

    After writing this post, I wrote a project page that includes a defintion and links to what I’ve been doing on the distributed narrative project. I’ve added a link from this post to that page 🙂

  3. Jose Angel

    Thanks! I’ll include the references in my online “Bibliography of Literary Theory, Criticism and Philology”,

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