Remixed into Existence: Life online as the internet comes of age (a talk by Ryan Milner reviewed)

Remix Culture

On April 6th Dr. Ryan Milner came to CNU to discuss memetic discourse with the students. From this talk the students learned a lot about remix culture and how it has always been integrated into what people do. I will briefly touch upon a few key points discussed in his lecture, and then move on to a quick discussion of what I thought of his presentation.


An example of a meme

Lecture Summary

Remix Types:

Within his lecture, Dr. Milner discussed how remix culture is found in many forms, specifically oral, print, and digital…


  1. Fairytales- our typical Disney fairytales are just a remix of grim past tales
  2. Urban Legends- these stories remix a legend to make it unique and specific to personal experiences
  3. Prepatterning- this is a way of story telling that follows a pre-determined pattern that is typically predictable


  1. Heteroglossia- different voices in one novel (inspiration for a novel shining through in the word and thematic choices)
  2. Tissues of Quotations- “death of the author” has been asserted as our reality because some claim nothing is original anymore, it is all just past quotations made into a new text
  3. Cut-up Methods- take other works, cut and glue them together to make a new work


  1. Read only v.s. Read and Write Culture- we have shifted from a culture that would simply read something, to a culture that needs to read and be engaged with a text. People do so through interaction via the internet with others, or using remake culture to engage the text and their fellows in discussion.
  2. Everything is a Remix- a majority of what is done online is a remix of a past text, and somehow it never gets old. We have become a culture attuned to recycling online posts and recreating them to reassert them as relevant.
  3. Memetics- the idea that when we share a post we are contributing to the remix process.

Memetic Approach

Copy, Transform, Combine

The way people use memes is they see a relevant meme, they copy the meme, they transform it via providing subsequent text, or changing the internal text of the meme, and then they combine it with outside factors.

Internet as…

Within his lecture, Dr. Milner described the internet as being three things at once: a tool, a place, and a way of being.


The internet can be used as a method of communication and remix. With limitless options to edit and find material, memetics have become easier to make, discover, or remake.


The internet is now so prevalent it is essentially considered a location. We do not say we are using the internet, we say we are on or in the internet. Additionally, we talk as if we live in reality and online as well, thus solidifying a concept as a location.

Way of Being

The internet and its remix culture is not a new thing, in fact Dr. Milner pointed out this culture is about 20 years old. Yet, people today still see the internet as a way of operating to create a persona, or live their preferred lifestyle.

My Opinions

I thought Dr. Milner was a great speaker and I loved hearing what he has to say about memes and remix culture. One thing in particular that I loved was the fact that he conceptualized memes, and showed how this was not a new or original concept through using the examples of oral and print culture. Before this explanation of memes and there significance, I would have never seen their connection to concepts such as urban legends, or cut-up methods in writing. In my opinion, I saw memes as a new feature to internet culture and a stand-alone concept. I had thought there has never been anything quite like this, where participants welcome people to take their work and recreate it, or copy it for their own use… the student in me instantly thought “wow, we are a culture that is okay with internet plagarism of memes.” I never had thought of memes as co-authoring or creation of remix in order to unite people under a common theme. From now on, I will look at memes and memetic discourse in a completely different way. Also, I would love to learn more about this topic, and I cannot wait to read his book this summer in order to gain a more in-depth understanding.