Blogging PreCourse and Blogging101

What Is A Meme?

Those who are new to blogging have probably come across either the term ‘meme’, or a meme itself, and been clueless as to just exactly what they have encountered.  When people talk about memes, they can be referring to quite a variety of things, but in terms of blogging, it usually has to do with some sort of list.  It could be a list of questions, a list of favorites, or a list of prompts that people can respond to. 

Memes are usually quite viral (another one of those strange computer terms that means it spreads quickly across the net.)  When someone sees a meme that they particularly enjoyed on a blog, they might decide to use the same meme on their own blog.  They might tweak a little for their own use, as well.  In fact, just like in the game “telephone,” a meme that travels across the world wide web might only vaguely resemble the original meme by the time it has made its journey.  And memes also can come in the form of a blogging “chain letter.”  When one blogger posts a meme, they will often “tag” several other bloggers with the task of continuing the meme on their own blogs.

Popular memes on the web have included Five Things I Own, A Thousand Words, 7 Weird Things about Me, and Works for Me Wednesday.  Each one requires participation from the blogger, who uses the meme to express an opinion or reveal something about himself or herself.

Memes have a variety of reasons that they appeal to the blogger. 

  1. They can inspire.  When your writing juices have dried up, and you are clueless where your next post is going to come from, a meme might provide just the jumpstart you need.
  2. They can help draw traffic. If you create a particularly clever meme, don’t be surprised when people will crawl out of the woodwork to not only copy your meme, but link back to your site, which naturally will increase your blog stats.
  3. They can get your readers involved.  Comments are like catnip to bloggers.  They are addictive.  So when your meme gets even your lurkiest readers to come forward and have their say, you are usually already planning your next one!
  4. They show off your personality.  A meme is the perfect opportunity to let your readers see who you really are.  They let you throw off all your winter bundling and show off your naked assets, so to speak.  Memes have a way of bringing out our impetuous side, and face it – – that is just plain fun.

The great news is that just about anything can inspire a meme.  The most random visit to a person’s blog might get your meme-ing juices flowing before you even know what has hit you.  For instance, Diane over at Universal Preschool, recently wrote a fun blog post about “Fun With Scarves.”  In the article she outlines a variety of creative ways to create educational experiences with this one single item of clothing.  In my opinion, this post is a meme waiting to happen.  A blogger would do well to link to Diane’s post, and then tag their readers with the task of picking their top three favorites out of her suggestions, and then adding three more of their own ideas to the list.  If you really want to have fun, you can add a creative title to the meme, such as “Scarfing Up Some Fun”, and there you go…instant meme-age.  With very little effort, you have taken a random subject and turned it into the next big thing to hit the net.  But whether or not meme-ing brings you your 15 minutes of fame, it will definitely bring a little life to your blog, and a little fun to your writing!

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