Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Armchair BEA Nurturing Relationships: Memes

Today's Armchair BEA topic is Nurturing Relationships.

I've met so many great people through blogging: authors, publishers, and most importantly bloggers. I don't want to place one relationship above another so I'm going to focus this post on the main way that I have found other blog friends: Memes.

*I suppose my post is a combo of networking/nurturing relationships, but it's a rather amorphous topic and this is what I was inspired to write (hmmm...inspired makes it sound a little more grand than it is. Rather, it's what popped into my head and subsequently onto the blog).

What is a meme?

A meme is a theme, usually weekly, that multiple blogs post about. It is hosted by one blogger who usually has a spot on his or her blog where each participating blogger posts the link to her blog post. Then you visit as many other blogs participating in the meme and comment on their post.

Why do I participate in memes?

I participate in the three big memes: Parajunkee's Follow Friday, Crazy For Books' Book Blogger Hop, and The Story Siren's In My Mailbox.

As much as I love memes, I don't want them to take over my site. My blog is primarily to review and discuss books. Memes are one way to do that, but it's not original content. Armchair BEA week is unusual for me in that I have only done Armchair BEA posts - no reviews this week aside from Manga Mondays. Normally, I have 2-4 reviews and/or a discussion post plus Manga Mondays.

I participate in memes for two reasons:

1. Fun. I love the blog hops, especially the weekly questions. I love seeing what books everyone got in In My Mailbox, even though it makes me jealous. There are lots of other cool memes, but the lack of time factor outweighs the fun factor for all but my favorites.

2. Networking. When I first started blogging, I only knew about the big blogs like The Story Siren, Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf, The Book Scout, Steph Su Reads, etc. You can find other blogs through directories and blog rolls, but it's hard to get a feel for them. Memes are a great way to find all sorts of blogs you'd never encounter otherwise. Plus, limiting the post to a single topic or single question allows the unique characteristics of each blog to stand out. Seeing what books people received In Their Mailbox lets me know if we read the same things - would I be interested in their reviews? Reading how they answer the weekly question in the Blog Hops highlights the blogger's personality - are they funny, interesting, smart, grammatically correct, etc.?

I still read the "big blogs" that I mentioned above, but almost all of the other blogs that I love now came from memes, as did most of the people who read my blog.

I think consistently participating in memes is the best way to get your name out there and to meet a lot of great friends. It's what takes your blog to the next level - not just an Internet journal, but rather a place for virtual conversation and friendship.

21 comments :

  1. Fantastic post! I totally agree about meme's. I usually participate in Waiting on Wednesday and In My Mailbox - it's such a great way to find people with similar tastes. And I get so excited seeing photo's of everyone's weekly book haul! The book blogger hops are definitely one of the best ways. I do them every few weeks and have found some brilliant blogs from it, not to mention such friendly people!

    Already I've met awesome people from the Armchair BEA hop. I'm so glad I signed up this year!

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  2. Thanks for sharing Alison. I don't do any meme's yet, but I love reading them...IMM being one of them, it's great seeing what others a getting!

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  3. I am a new blogger and this is fantastic advice! I've been stumbling through blogs simply discovering them by chance which magically sucks hours from my day (seriously, it must be magic because I swear it's only been 5 min and suddenly it's 2 hours!).

    Where do you find is the best place to look for memes that are right for your blog? I blog mostly about Middle Grade and YA books... http://thebookelement.blogspot.com

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  4. I participate in three memes on a semi regular basis: the Book Blogger Hop, On My Wishlist and What am I Reading.

    Rather than talk about bookstores, publishers or bloggers, I'm talking about volunteering. Come see what I mean.

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  5. great post allison. I like weekly meme's too Ive fallen off with the follow friday I have to do that again :)

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  6. I find that I don't have the time to do memes but I wish I did more of them. I might pick out one good one and start there.

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  7. I haven't been struck by memes as much, although I do IMM on a biweekly basis. However, maybe it is time to take a look at them again!

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  8. Memes are a great way for new bloggers to reach out and meet people. I agree that you don't want to overdo them though. Use them to get people to your blog and read your original content. Great post!

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  9. I'm a new blogger and I've definitely found memes to be one of the best ways to meet other bloggers.

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  10. I do memes sometimes and I have found it to be invaluable in connecting with other bloggers.

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  11. The Saturday Review of Books each Saturday at Semicolon http://www.semicolonblog.com/ is another good way to connect with other bloggers and with books, which is what we're all about, right?

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  12. Well said Alison! I enjoy participating in a few meme's but like you always want to be careful that they do not take over my blog. I have found pretty much every blog that I read regularly through one meme or another!

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  13. Totally agreed Alison! I do get a little itchy when it looks like my blog is a straight up MEME blog. Not that there's anything wrong with bloggers who have 90% memes on their page but I'm just saying that wasn't my original purpose of blogging!

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  14. LOVE this post! I agree, memes are an amazing way to get to know other bloggers. I love being able to find other blogs based on the books they've read. I do participate in a couple memes (IMM and a random other meme sometimes) but I do like to see blogs with quality content. Great post, Alison!

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  15. I agree with you on both points! I currently participate in Mailbox Monday on a weekly basis and the Book Blogger Hop sporadically. I'm keeping an eye out for something else to add at least occasionally. I don't want the memes to outweigh the reviews, but I like the mix for my blog.

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  16. I completely agree, Alison. Of course, you always have the few that just through up there link without making an honest effort to visit back or just visit others. I've noticed this the most with the Hop and FF. That is why I don't participate during weeks that I know I won't have time to fully participate in the objective of the meme.

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  17. I love participating memes...they are fantastic places to connect with other bibliophiles and share book love.

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  18. I agree & love memes, but don't want them being the only posts on my blog. I'd have to say though that most of my networking with other bloggers has been through memes. Besides IMM & WoW I also love R.A.K & Reading Lark Pursuit.

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  19. I also have found memes to be a fantastic way to meet new people. In the short time I've been blogging I've found that you have to be careful not to create artificial relationships from memes though. (i.e. I'm following you, follow me back). The main thing that happens there is that your reader gets huge and sometimes the blogs you end up following are just not of the same interests.

    So that's something I'm trying to be more careful with when it comes to memes nowadays. It is a FANTASTIC way to meet new people and I have met some awesome people through memes though! :)

    ~ Sarah ♥ I'm Loving Books

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  20. Great post! Its definitely important to pick only a few memes. I recently unsubscribed from a blog that has been nothing but memes for weeks now. It would have been better for them to just not post.

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  21. I fell behind in Armchair BEA last week! I only posted an intro. LOL Oh well! I agree with you...memes are a great way to network. They really helped me when I was starting out as a blogger. I especially like WoW because I get to learn about new books coming out.

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