The Meme Meme

Chip Camden tagged me in a meme that asks the very relevant question, “why do you respond to memes?”  Before I went off the grid for a while, there was some debate about the merit of memes, with some people defending them and others comparing them to chain letters and similar annoyances.  I’ll resist the temptation to wonder how anyone who has a blog could conclude that memes are a waste of their time and just answer the question.

Here are the requested 5 reasons why I respond to most memes:

1) Memes are conversation starters, and conversation is the reason I write a blog and the reason I subscribe to blogs.

2) Memes allow us to find out more about each other in an efficient manner.  Since most of the people who converse cross-blog will never meet in the real world, memes are a good way to find out how the guy who writes about one topic feels about others.  I was at a closing dinner the other night and one of the hosts asked everyone at the table to name his or her favorite movie.  I was happily surprised at how many other people picked a goofy movie (my choice was, of course, The Holy Grail).  Memes are a way to do that sort of thing on a distributed basis.

3) I am appreciative that someone cares enough to ask what I think about something.  So many people are great talkers and bad listeners.  A meme is, at least to some extent, a way to listen.  It’s handing over the microphone to someone else- to let them have their turn.

4) I suspect that memes probably piss off those who take themselves too seriously.  That makes me want to go all meme all the time.  Life is too often hard and serious.  Blogging should be silly and fun.

5) I had to do some thinking to come up with a 5th reason, but upon reflection I realized that I like to see if I can predict who will respond to a meme and who won’t.  Someone who ignores the offered meme is often telling you more than the person who answers.  I have always been (to a fault some people say) a student of human nature.  Memes serve as little human nature experiments.

So here are my five (with a brief note as to why they were selected).  Name five reasons why you do (or do not) respond to memes.

Amy Gahran (a lot of my conversational approach to blogging originated from reading her blogs)
Scot Karp (we started blogging around the same time, and I am impressed with how he turned his blog into a must-read)
Hugh MacLeod (he’s a long time A-Lister who has always struck me as a regular guy (in a good way))
Rockstar Mommy (I don’t know her, but it’s one of my favorite recent blog discoveries)
Ian Delaney (just because he’s a smart guy and a great writer)

My prediction (see number 5 above): 3 out of 5.

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