Our minds on media.

Musings on the effects of media on cognition.

Memes, Names and Information Design! Oh My!

If anything could be construed as a meme it would have to be a name — not as in names for things but names for people. Names are concepts without a basis in perception, they get copied and mutate a lot and they’re relatively common. Obviously some people think that there’s more to a name that just a label (apparently existing on an abstract plane of conscious intelligence). But if you’ve ever wanted to see how memes trend, here’s a great piece of software to do just that. This is not only a great way to look at the history of names, it is also a stunning piece of interactive design. Seeing changes as letters get entered is a brilliant form of feedback and the charts and graphics are clear and simple. This is defnitely a concept that could have been over-burdened with information that would have ruined the elegance of the timeline view.

On one final note, I’d just like to point out that my sister’s name Mandy (technically Amanda, though I’ve always called her Mandy) peaks out at 1971 when Barry Manilow’s hit “Mandy” came on the scene. C’mon, Mom and Dad, can you say Fad Zombie? 😉

[ I originally found this site through an article by Steven Johnson. ]

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