Memes

14 05 2012

hipster ariel is so cool she doesn’t even exist yet

Note: this is a long post– hopefully it isn’t tl;dr — but I hope that it helps give some insight into memes. I have seen many arguments about whether or note one should participate in memes following recent events and decided to condense all of these arguments into one post to discuss them.

INTRODUCTION

Memes are very popular in the blogging world. In My Mailbox is a long-running meme about what people have recieved to read this week; there are offshoots of this meme as well, with the same concept but a different name/some differences in how the meme is run. There are also several other memes like Top Ten Tuesday and Road Trip Wednesday and many more — far too many for me to list. (If you are interested in a complete list of all young adult blogging community memes, I would recommend googling “ya blogging memes” to find some extensive lists of YA memes). There are also smaller memes, which have fewer participants, but still have a decent following.

It is basically possible for anyone to create a meme.

Take an idea, find a way for others to use that idea to create different images/posts/content, and then have a way for people to create their content every week, every day, every month, etc. Of course creating a meme does not mean that your meme will be popular — you may not get many people to do the meme but after a while you may get some dedicated followers and the meme will grow and become more popular. (Case in point: In My Mailbox was not always huge.)

Memes are not a new thing. They have been around in some shape or form for many years, and there are more than just book-related memes; there are fashion memes, sport memes, funny memes, basically everything you could think of. (There are about a gazillion funny ones, some funnier than others.) If you’re looking to find some good memes Tumblr has plenty of them. Anyway, with this basis of memes, I wanted to discuss the different opinions that the book blogging world seems to have on memes. I have a personal opinion on memes that I have mentioned here, but I will attenpt to keep this post as un-subjective as possible.

Alright.

There seem to be two distinctive camps — for memes and against them. I will attempt to outline each side’s arguments/opinions on memes.

FOR THEM

Many people are for and enjoy reading and creating memes. Plenty of people — 200+ each week — do In My Mailbox. Other memes also tend to have high numbers of people participating. The highest I have found in the book-blogging world is a meme that has about 600 people post for it every week.  Some blogs base much of their content around memes, with two to three meme posts a week. Others use another approach, with a certain number of memes and reviews/other content each week to run their blog. People that do many memes say that they enjoy them and that they feel that these memes enrich both their blog and their blogging experience. One argument for memes is that many memes have a linky or other device that allows you to post your link to your post. People can then click this link, driving traffic/followers/comments to your blog, which some say helps enrich the blogging community and helps enrich their blog by helping the poster gain more followers, comments, and traffic.

Another argument is that these memes can introduce you to new books. In My Mailbox, for instance, is a meme where one posts about books they have received in the mail/from the library/from online retailers/other sources for that week. People will also often post pictures and/or descriptions of the books that they have received in the mail. Followers of this meme say that it tells them about new or upcoming (many post about ARCs) books that they may not know about and encourages them to go and look up these titles, generating “buzz” for the books. (This is also especially helpful for publishers, of course, who are gaining online “buzz” on these books). These memes, followers say, not only tell them about new and upcoming books but older releases, giving exposure to these older books, which may not be known as well.

In conclusion, the main argument given by those who are for memes is:

  • Memes help drive traffic, comments, and readers to one’s blog and enrich the blogging community.
  • Memes help posters/followers learn about new, upcoming, and older titles giving exposure to books, helping create “buzz” for new/upcoming titles, and help get people interested in older books that may not be as well known.

AGAINST THEM

As much as many people enjoy memes, there are also a large number of people that are against them and do not post any memes or other related content on their blogs. There are also a large number of people who did memes on their blogs for a while, and then, for whatever personal reason(s), discontinued all memes or began doing fewer memes. Some people have also stopped doing memes because they disagree with what the creator of the meme has done. Many people against memes say that they prefer to create other forms of content (book reviews, discussion posts, features, interviews, etc) instead of memes on their blog. They say that this enriches and strengthens their blog more then if they had countless memes. There are several arguments against memes. Many of these arguments revolve more around memes that showcase books that people have received.  Some people say that the purpose of a YA book blog is to post reviews/other content about books. They say that memes do not count and should not be used in YA blogs, as their purpose is to create reviews/content. (I would like to add one aside to this: everyone’s version of what their purpose is, what/who they blog for, is different — and it can change.)

This argument is not one that I have seen as much — the following arguments are more “common” but this is an argument. Other comments revolve more around bragging and jealousy.

Many people, when they do In My Mailbox or other related memes, take pictures of the books they got or create a vlog that shows the books. Some consider this to be bragging, and people simply saying “look what I got!” People who agree with this argument also say that many people get jealous when they see these many books. Many of these books may also be ARCs which are harder to get, and people may feel inferior and wish that they were more popular and recieved more ARCs A final argument is that some say that frankly they do not care what others have received/listed/whatever the meme is designed around is and simply want to see reviews/content of these books and not showing off of books.

In conclusion, arguments against the memes are:

  • Memes should not be included in YA blogs because the blog is designed to post reviews and other content about YA books. Memes, to some, do not count as content.
  • Memes simply incite jealousy and bragging as people show off their books and brag about what they recieved. Some may also feel jealous that they have not received numerous books and may be jealous of people with many ARCs.
  • Some do not care what people have received/listed/whatever the meme is designed around and just want to see reviews and other content.

CONCLUSION

Memes are a bit of a conflicting topic in the YA world. There are many people against them and many people for them, and it is someone’s one personal choice about whether or not they choose to participate in any way in any memes. The arguments are diverse and strong and many have argued adequetly for their side.

I would like to finish this post by saying once again that it is someone’s choice, and we should not condemn anyone for whether or not they do memes; it is their choice if they choose to participate.

Finally, I would like to ask: what do people think? Are you “for” memes or  against them? Explain your reasoning — I want to know, and I am open to all comments. No comments will be deleted.

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