Bookish Chat: Why memes are not evil incarnate

August 4, 2014 Bookish chat 33

Let’s start with a little confession.  In the past, I’ve been a little snobbish about memes.  In my head, I thought one or two (at a push) weekly was ok but anymore was overkill.  But I’ve come to realise that we all blog for different reasons and if you want to make connections, find new friends and increase page views then memes are 100% guaranteed to help you with this.  And I want to prove to you that memes are not evil and I have a few thoughts on them that I’m just going to spew out here.

not evil

Ok maybe no one actually thinks memes are evil but it got your attention, right?!  However you may think they are boring, generic and not worth the time and effort.  Like everything, they are what you make of them though.  I put as much thought in to any I join as I do any other post.  And being honest, I could write a review faster than the time I spend on one but I like the payback.  I like the interaction and I like that they often drive traffic to other posts.

Personally, I only participate in a meme about once a week and often not even that. But that’s my choice for my blog and my blogging goals.  Someone whose priorities are to mainly be part of the blogging community might join one every day and that’s just as valid a choice as mine.  When it comes to blogging the only right decisions are the ones you decide for your blog (apart from plagiarism obviously, now that really is evil incarnate).

One thing that comes to mind when you mention memes is blah comments.  BUT I have noticed that comments on memes have improved a lot since I started blogging a year and a half ago.  Back then it was common to see a generic comment like ‘great haul, see mine here’ but I think lots of bloggers were vocal about how meaningless these interactions were and things changed.  The meme I join the most often is The Sunday Post and the comments I get feel genuine, they make me want to go visit them back, squee over their new books and hear their weekly news too.

Another huge plus for memes is that you find new blogs.  It is easy when you have been blogging for a while to just stick to your tried and trusted blogging pal’s posts but it’s good to look around and see who is joining us.  New bloggers are filled with a passion and enthusiasm that is contagious and I find it motivates me all over again to rediscover why I love blogging.

The main reason why I don’t join more memes is time constraints.  I love Top Ten Tuesday and if I had more time, I would make time for that one too.  However when I do join in a meme, I want to take the time and visit other blogs.  And I don’t just want to speed around every blog on the linky, I want to pick ten or maybe fifteen and take the time to really read their post and leave a thoughtful comment.  And I want to reply to comments I get and visit them back too (thankfully some overlap!).  Not to mention the time it takes to draft the post itself so 3 or so memes a month is what I can realistically handle.

Another thing to remember about memes is that they are like buses, you can hop on and hop off whenever you want.  Think of it like an unlimited bus ticket that you can use as little or as often as you want.  At first I felt I had to join every week and that can become a drag but now I just join in when I want and skip when I’m not feeling it.  No one cares and being brutally honest no one even notices so just set your own timetable for when you’ll participate.  I love that freedom and it makes me feel more relaxed about it all.

The final thing about memes is that I’ll usually only visit ones that I’m joining in on.  So that means that all others in my feeder just get marked as read.  I don’t feel guilty as I’d rather spend my time on other blog posts.  But when I’ve joined in one, I’m in the zone and all go.  Maybe it’s a little bit like a ‘you had to be there’ scenario.

Overall memes often get a bad rap in the blogging world.  But they can work if you want them to work.  And above all, they are not a lesser post, they are just an alternative post and you will get lots of visits from others also doing the same meme.

Bookish Chat : How do you feel about memes?  Have your opinions on them changed the longer you blogged?  What is your favourite?  Do you read them or just skip over them?  Discuss below!





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33 Responses to “Bookish Chat: Why memes are not evil incarnate”

  1. Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library

    There are so many memes out there and there is such a payout that it’s tempting not to participate in all of them! I do try to keep it to the memes that really interest me – like Top Ten Tuesday and the Friday 56. I started linking up with The Sunday Post when I realized I was doing the same thing on Sunday anyway just without the linkup. It does take so much time. Review days are almost a relief because the time commitment isn’t as big as I feel like I should visit as many as possible and I like to leave a real comment not just a generic one. I’ve found some of my favorite blogs through the memes though.
    Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library recently posted…Secrets of the Lighthouse – Review

    • trish

      For me accepting that I could only visit a fraction of the people in the link up made me feel more relaxed. Now I just do what I can and enjoy those I do visit without feeling like I need to cram more in. And I agree the payoff is good! And leaving a thoughtful comment is always noticed and appreciated.

  2. Charleen

    The only memes I enjoy are ones that encourage discussion and interaction… and that’s not even a restraint of the memes themselves as what the bloggers do with it.

    A meme that gives a new discussion question every week – these are often my favorites – can still be boring if the blogger responds with just a line or two. Book hauls and Waiting on Wednesday – which I usually skip over because they’re so generic – can still be interesting if the blogger gets into why they’re excited, what specifically they’re looking forward to, instead of just a list of titles.

    I participate in memes very rarely, but I will read the ones that pop up in my reader, depending on what they are. It can be fun to see different takes on a topic. At the same time, I’ve gotten better at just skipping over them without the guilt if I’m not feeling it.
    Charleen recently posted…August Hiatus

    • trish

      It is so true that the meme post is as original or bland as the blogger makes it regardless of what the topic is. I get disappointed when I read a discussion meme and it’s just a short paragraph. When a blogger makes the meme their own though that catches my eye.

  3. Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook

    I love this post! I don’t participate in many memes, either. Just TTT and a Book Haul post on Saturdays. But I love how these memes helped me discover new blogs. And I agree, it’s so easy after you’ve been blogging for awhile to stop looking for new blogs to read. But memes help us discover new ones!!
    Quinn @ Quinn’s Book Nook recently posted…Review: No Limits by Lori Foster

    • trish

      I found most of my blogging besties via TTT and The Sunday Post so I definitely think they are a great way of making friends. They also encourage more active discussion than a review can as if you haven’t read the book, there isn’t a lot to say. But on a meme, you really get a chance to get to know each other a bit.

  4. Rita @ My Home of Books

    Good feature! I do a weekly wrap-up for my blog on Saturdays, which I would do anyway regardless of memes, so I link it up to the ‘Sunday Post’ & ‘It’s Monday, What Are You Reading’. That covers 3 days and I get to chat with many avid readers who do visit and comment back. I visit about 20-ish blog links because some of the blogs pertain to genres I just don’t read, so I don’t want to be a phony and say, “wow I love your choices”.

    The only other meme I am doing right now is ‘First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday Intros’, because I am friends with the folks who post there, and I get to (sometimes) make a decision on a book after reading the first paragraph or so.

    Top Ten Tuesday sounds like a lot of fun, but also some extra work to answer the questions. I do love reading some of the responses anyway.
    I think I like your idea about just participating in memes when you have time, and not feeling like you *have to* do it every week.
    Rita @ My Home of Books recently posted…Weekly Wrap-Up 8/2-8/4/14

    • trish

      I totally agree with not visiting blogs where you have nothing to say. After all if you don’t like their genres and books, the same is probably true for them and there is no point in being false (like you said). Not when there are so many other blogs that you have something in common with.
      I do the very, very odd TTT and I always enjoy it. When everyone is answering the same prompt, it’s fun seeing all the variations in the posts.

  5. Tanya Patrice

    I actually like memes, and I like visiting blogs that participate in the memes that I do too. Like you said, it’s a great way to discover new blogs, and often, it’s a good way to hear about books oyu might otherwise never come across.

    • trish

      Sometimes finding out about new books isn’t always a good thing! My TBR explores after TTT or The Sunday Post as I want all the books LOL 🙂 I think when you do the same meme as another blogger it creates a little instant connection between you and that can build up into a good friendship.

    • trish

      I remember your post! I think it’s all about deciding what you want for your blog and going for it. There is no ‘cookie cutter’ way to blog 🙂

  6. Valerie

    I definitely agree with you. Even though I’ve only had a blog for around…8 months, I feel like memes have become viewed as an actual post, rather than “spam”. I do see more and more comments that are more significant and not generic, but since I only participate in Top Ten Tuesday and Stacking the Shelves/Sunday Post, I can’t say how it’s like for the other less popular memes.

    For me personally, I only visit memes that I actually participate in, unless something really catches my eye. Only because visiting other blogs and replying back does take up a lot of time, so I tend to dedicate my tuesdays and saturdays/sundays to them.
    Valerie recently posted…I have dropped off the face of the Earth

    • trish

      I think when a blogger puts thought and effort into their meme post, it is obvious and it does pay off. TTT is a great example as some people are just so creative with the topic and their list and it makes you want to check out the rest of their blog.
      And yes, visiting and commenting back is a big time investment but still worth it.

  7. Dee @ Dee's Reads

    I had to cut memes totally out of my blogging diet, I just didn’t have enough time. I do think I’m going to do a Waiting on Wednesday every once in awhile, or Sunday Post…but only rarely. I think memes do get a bad rap, sometimes people book blog so they can get arcs but only do meme posts, I discovered that when a few trading sites said they actually have to research book blogs bc they said some were “fake” in the sense they only did memes and never book reviews. Not sure how I feel about that, I have come across a few but whatever.
    Dee @ Dee’s Reads recently posted…Book Review: The Fire Wish by Amber Lough

    • trish

      I think anything that is making blogging seem like a chore needs to go. I took a break from memes for 6 months but then started thinking about how I missed the chat and the buzz from them so now I’m all over them again. If it feels like too much ever though, I’ll be cutting them out again for a while.
      Re your comment, wow. I have no problem with people only doing memes and promo stuff. It wouldn’t be enough to make me visit though but if they are happy that’s all that matters. However trying to get review books when you don’t review is just plain dishonest and gives us all a bad a name!

  8. Candace

    I think you make some good points here. When I first started blogging almost 6 years ago I did a few memes a week. Or at least two. I did a LOT of reviews too though so I was posting multiple times a day. And I was networking like ALL day long. The last 2 years or so (maybe 3) I slowed down a lot. I just do The Sunday Post now but for over a year I didn’t do any. It’s hard for me to keep up with the comments sometimes but I like the networking and for now doing just one works for me.
    Candace recently posted…Boost It Tuesday! Book Bloggers & Authors, Link Up Your Facebook Page for a Boost!

    • trish

      I like networking too but it can become a time suck so I do need to limit it. I had to take a break from memes from 6 months too and won’t hesitate to do it again if I need to.
      However when you have the time, a weekly meme can be good fun and a good boost to your traffic. Every little helps 🙂

  9. Lola

    I don’t participate in many meme’s, in fact now that I think about it I think the Sunday Post is the only meme I participate in every week. Beside that I don’t participate in many memes. I do enjoy seeing memes on other blogs, though it depends on the meme. Some meme’s like only book hauls can be a bit boring if you don’t know any of the books, that’s what I liek about the Sunday Post how it integrates that into the rest of the post. I do enjoy Top Ten Theusday, although I never joined it myself, no idea why actually. Although sometimes it seems like on a certain day I only see memes in my bloglovin feed.

    I also enjoy the meeting other bloggers part of memes and how they drive traffic to your blog, even though the Sunday Post isn’t such a massive meme as some others out there, sundays are still the days when I get most visits and comments.
    Lola recently posted…Sunday Post #85

    • trish

      That’s what I love about the Sunday Post too, it can be a chatty post and you can really make it your own. And it’s great way to link up with other people and see what is happening around the other blogs as it catches you up on their entire week.
      TTT is a fun meme, you should try it sometime! I have really enjoyed it anytime I joined it.

  10. acps927

    I agree with your thoughts, Trish! I think of Top 10 Tuesday (specifically, since that is the only meme I participate in now) as a way to just help me think of a good post idea, since it’s easy to run out of ideas on your own. I also feel like over time I have gotten a little more creative with it, plus it has really helps my blog traffic as well.
    acps927 recently posted…Bookish Wedding Inspiration: The Grisha Trilogy

    • trish

      I think lots of bloggers are doing a great job of making memes their own by adding creative touches. It does make the blogger stand out a bit and I always enjoy your twist on the TTT topic. An increase in blog traffic is always welcome too!

  11. Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun

    This is such a great post Trish! I so agree – I’m not someone who does lots of memes – for all the reasons you mentioned, but I do like to participate in 1 to 3 a week, depending on what else I have going on in the blog. I prefer ones that are more interactive like the Sunday Post (the only meme I participate in every single week!). It’s a great way to get to know the rest of the community. WoW has never appealed to me because I don’t feel like I get to know other bloggers that way and it does tend to produce more of those “Nice pick. Here’s mine” kind of comments because there’s not a whole lot to say. But there’s some really good memes out there that get you connected.
    Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun recently posted…Sunday Post | 53rd Edition

    • trish

      Exactly, they are a way of getting into the community. It’s up to the blogger then to do some research to see what’s the best fit for their blog and their own personality. It’s nice to find a little niche that we can fit on to 🙂

  12. Angie @Angela's Anxious Life

    The Sunday Post is a great “meme”. I don’t even know if I would call it a meme to be honest. I like to share some of my life on it and get more personal. That is why I never joined stacking the shelves. That one is just pictures of books and what I am going to say to that when I haven’t even heard of most of them. So Sunday Post is great. I too only do the memes I feel like I have something to say about. This week I am doing a Waiting on Wednesday and I NEVER do those. Only when I am actually really excited about a book. Same with TTT. I only do that one if the list topic actually speaks to me. I don’t find that I get new followers from memes…. just visits to the blog. So if that is what people are looking for I don’t think they will find it.
    Angie @Angela’s Anxious Life recently posted…Utah Book Month

    • trish

      I agree I love The Sunday Post as it’s so easy to personalise it and make it yours. And jumping in and out of memes is fun, that way you get to remain enthusiastic about them. Which always shows, I think.

  13. Julie S.

    Too many memes really do crowd up a blog or a feed, but when used in moderation, memes are great. I like how some memes (TTT for example) give you a good topic to write a post about, and you can really get creative with your posts, or just do a simple list. We also run a meme, it is a quote meme, but the best part is seeing why the person picked the quote, if they say. True, really successful memes are great for finding new blogs, but it is also hard to try to visit everyone participating.
    Julie S. recently posted…That’s what HE said Thursday- August 14, 2014

  14. Red Iza

    I like memes, even if it depends on the subject (I do book covers and cats). Sometimes it helps knowing the blogger better and I enjoy that 🙂 I used memes when I started blogging because I was supposed to post reviews faster than I could read ! They filled the blanks and, like you said, there’s no obligations 🙂
    Red Iza recently posted…Review / Katalina Leon : Portrait of a lone wolf

  15. Angelica @ Paperback Princess

    I really enjoyed this post as this same question has popped into my mind. The only meme that I participate in regularly is Feature & Follow Friday and Book Blogger Hop; what I love about these memes are the questions, so it’s really interesting to go and see how other Bloggers answer the question. I don’t like filling my posts with too much memes so I combine these two.

    I used to do Stacking the Shelves and The Sunday post combined, but I will most likely do this once every 2 weeks or once a month as I do not get enough books to do it weekly.

    TTT I enjoy doing but I only do it if I like the topic. I’m thinking of doing Teaser Tuesdays as I think that would be fun to read teasers on books I’m interested in. If I do Teaser Tuesdays and TTT I will combine the post.

    I really love memes because when I go and visit other blogs, I read their meme post but when their meme post appeals to me, whether it’s because they like the same genre that I read or I just liked the blogger’s voice, I tend to check out the blog and if I like other posts I follow.

    I think it’s important to genuinely read meme posts by other bloggers if your going to participate in a meme, I think it’s only fair that you give back as much as your getting back from the meme. For example, I get new comments from Feature & Follow Friday so it’s only fair that I go and visit other blogs participating and read and comment on their posts.

    However, I totally agree with you when you say that sometimes it’s too much. Some blogs are filled with only memes.
    Angelica @ Paperback Princess recently posted…Armchair BEA ~ Introductions

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