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.