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The "So" meme

I'm always interested in tracing the early history and subsequent rise of new memes, and I think the "So" meme might be worth following, as a quantifiable research project. The "basically" (meaning "um" or "er") meme is quite old now and might even be starting to die away. But can anyone shed any light on the "So" at the start of a story meme, which I think is still quite new? I'm talking about the habit of beginning a narrative with the completely unnecessary word "So".

You could just say, "I was walking along the street, when I saw . . ." Instead, what we very often get is "So I was walking along the street, when I saw . . ." Any ideas on how this meme arose, and how we might quantify its spread? You have to separate this gratuitous "So" from the genuinely meaningful "So", in the sense of "consequently": as in "I saw a strange man walking down the street. So I decided to follow him." Quite different from STARTING the story with "So I saw a strange man walking down the street . . ."

Have you noticed any other newborn memes on the horizon, which might be worth trying to trace through the memosphere?




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