A gene is a replicator made out of DNA. A meme is a replicator which is an idea. The properties of replicators are discussed by the theory of evolution.
Memes have been used as an idea in social commentary. There have been a number of attempts to do philosophy using the idea of memes. Below I'll briefly comment on the approach to memes I think is best, but I don't want to limit replies to one particular approach to memes.
In The Beginning of Infinity, David Deutsch presents a theory of two types of memes: static (aka anti-rational) and dynamic (aka rational). The difference is in their replication strategies. Dynamic memes are spread because people think they are a good idea, so they find it useful, use it, and share it. Static memes evolve to (partially) disable the holder's creativity and spread because he is unable to think critically about it. The meme evolved to have some control over people.
What does Objectivism say about memes?
I am not aware of any discussion or mention of "meme" anywhere in the literature of Objectivism. Those who want to learn more about memes will need to look elsewhere.
I found a substantial, apparently well documented article on "Meme" on Wikipedia, which appears to agree with the meaning of "meme" presented in the question, but with considerable additional background context. I see two main issues in Objectivism applicable to memes:
answered Dec 05 '14 at 22:11
Ideas for Life ♦