Meme Debt Monday: How Are You Managing Them?

Meme Debt MondayI’m not sure how it happened. But it did.

Somewhere along the way, I ended up in meme debt. Just like financial debt, it just sneaks up on you. The next thing you know, you’re way behind.

Tag, Tag, Tag, Tag…

I’d been tagged for a bunch of these blog memes. As I mentioned before, I’m never quite sure how to work them in.

I try hard to stay on topic. Since this isn’t a blog about blogging, many memes don’t really fit or provide anything of value to my readers.

Based on feedback, a good portion of my readers aren’t bloggers. Some didn’t even know what a blog was. They just saw this as a Website with some success tips, a little inspiration, and funny pictures.

On the flip side, I enjoy being part of the blogging community. It’s one of the main reasons I started blogging (another meme).

I also have found that many memes are very interesting to read on other blogs. They can provide some insight into the bloggers behind the page, and help add personality.

Be Selective and Find a Balance

As John Wesley listed in his “27 Lessons Learned…” post, which Darren Rowse added his comments:

Don’t participate in every meme or trade links with everyone who asks.” – Preach it brother! If you participate in every meme that comes your way (or every time you’re tagged) then you could find your blog goes so far off topic that you lose readership (not to mention your own focus). Be selective in what you participate in and choose those that have relevancy in terms of topic and add value to your blog.

I think this is the key — participating by being selective. Only jump on the meme train when the topic fits, and only on occasion. Otherwise your blog can become a blog just about blog memes.

Declaring Blog Meme Bankruptcy

So I realized that I won’t be able to go back and get caught up on all the blog memes. So I’m starting clean.

To be honest, it’s actually flattering to be tagged. It’s nice to know folks think about you. But to make sure I stay on topic, I can’t participate in every meme or take up every tag and run with it. So I’m going with John and Darren’s advice — be selective in what you participate in and choose those that have relevancy.

How Do You Handle Memes?

Now as a sort of meme of memes, I want to know how you handle them:

  • Do you have a policy?
  • Particularly if you’re a problogger or a business blogger — where you have a definitive reason to stay on topic — how do you participate?

I’m not tagging anyone, but I’d be very interested to hear your meme strategy in the comments or in your own post.


  1. I’m with you, Tony. It’s difficult, but sometimes you just have to say no to memes. I really do appreciate the tags and participate whenever it’s practical, so I hope people realize that it’s nothing personal, I just need to do what’s best for my readership.

  2. No policy here, Tony. I participate in memes if I have the time and if I feel that they are going to add to my blog in some fashion – even if it is to give my readers a glimpse into my real persona.

    And I just don’t stress about it if one gets missed.

  3. I’m with Char Tony. I do what I can to play along, but I don’t get to all of them, and I feel okay about that.

    One guy (don’t remember who, sorry, but it could have been Drew McLellan) said they reserve weekends for meme time, and they try to participate in 1 or 2 a month.

    It’s up to you how/if you want to play. A polite note to the person who tagged you if you choose not to play is a nice extra step too, especially if they took the time to e-mail you to “invite you” to play.

  4. I think you, John, Char and Phil all hit it on the head. You can’t do them all; you only do the ones that “fit”, and then – relax! Besides, I’m wondering if memes have sortof “run their course”. Group writing projects seem to be taking center stage these days.

    It’s nice when your friends think about you, and a note is definitely the polite response if you can’t.

  5. John – I think that’s a great point — nothing personal, just looking out for your readers.

    Char – Another great point — having the time. There are so many, it could take up all of your blogging time, especially if you blog as a side project.

    Phil – You’re right, I think it was Drew. That’s a good approach, setting aside a specific time to do them. And a note when you can’t participate is a good idea.

    Robert – Yeah, group writing projects have more of an “opt-in” feel. You take the initiative to seek them out, like blog carnivals. Where, depending on the meme, a tag can feel more like an obligation.

  6. It’s difficult for me at times to say no to memes. I really like that my readers involve me in their memes, but I can’t say yes everyday!

    I guess the key is to be polite while saying no.

  7. I know alot of people don’t like memes. But I do them for one reason. It helps readers understand why we do what we do…what our goal and mission is…and for those of us with a global goal…its gives exposure to new readers.

    What I’m proud of is that I don’t live in the “narrow perspective” of life….that’s the beauty of blogging. It makes the world so much smaller and shows all of us how similar we really are…it unites instead of divides.

    Our words can make a difference in someone’s life Tony and memes give our readers a chance to connect with us on a level that is more authentic.

  8. The other reason memes are good is that it exposes you to readers that you otherwise never would have been exposed to.

    For example, I just recently did a meme on my Murphy’s Law Blog and I was fascinated by the sheer volume of readers I got from one person I tagged. It was mind blowing!

    But, I also tag people from different walks of life and those who have different perspectives than me. The objective is to make all of us bigger people.

  9. Court – Yes, it’s nice to be included, but you’re right. You have to see how it fits into your overall strategy.

    Ev – You bring up some valid points, and it sounds like you’ve worked out your own strategy. Based on your reason for blogging, you can see how they fit into your plan. And thanks for the links.

  10. While memes may give a blogger an opportunity to show a different part of themself, the danger, as you’ve correctly identified, is that the blogger will go drastically off-topic. The line between off topic and “branching out” is not usually black and white: the blogger will have to decide for themselves. I’m glad that Ev has had success in the past, but I’m not sure how typical that amount of success is.

    Regarding overall strategy, I completely agree with you, Tony. Unless you’re running a meme blog ( is available), I would recommend that bloggers keep meme posts to under 5% of their total volume, preferably less.

  11. Like many others have said, I’ve learned to be selective. I just don’t have the time to attend to them all, especially those that are way off topic.

  12. I look at memes from two directions…

    First, will it benefit my readers. That’s always the first question I ask. If no, I don’t even consider it. If yes, then I go to the second question…

    Do I have time? Writing, publishing, working, family, etc. I weigh the benefits of the meme to my work and family needs.

    That’s how I decide.

  13. Tony, today I responded to the Ramblings on a Glass Half Full meme. I found a way to link my response to the main content of my site, the brain. And I was able to use relevant facts my readers would enjoy.

    I chose my own title, rather than completely letting the meme take over.

    These are two ways I stay on course. And as some others suggested, I do not respond to every meme.

    Best thing is not to feel guilty, but stay true to your purpose.

  14. I think by providing widgets such as TheMyBlogLog Recent Readers you are in a way providing a link to another’s blog. If the photo is interesting, I click on it out of curiousity and check out their blog. Since my blog is about my life as a single redhead mom raising a 12 year old boy it’s almost impossible to change format to discuss another blog. I post specific on Monday\Wednesday\Friday under a certain format that my regular readers have come to expect. People love PostSecret and the content is always the same…
    Catherine, the redhead

  15. Hey Tony,

    I’m a little late to the conversation but that’s never stopped me before!

    Here’s my take on memes and my blog.

    Like many of your commenters and you — I write for my audience. Mostly.

    But I also write my blog for me. I enjoy it. If it becomes just about the audience and I don’t get any energy back, pretty soon I am not going to continue to enjoy it. And in the end, I think my readers suffer. Because I don’t write as well or as often etc.

    So part of the fun of blogging is the play factor. And to me memes are play. So here’s my own rules.

    I post something of value for my audience every day. But I get to play a little on the weekends. That’s when I catch up on memes, blog about blogging (since my blog isn’t about that) or the community.

    But…I always end the day with a content rich post. So, I play earlier in the but I close out with something meaty. That way, in the morning — either via e-mail or RSS, the first things my readers get is the value. Then, if they want to participate in the more frivolous part of my postings, they can do that too.

    Of course, on rare occasion, I break my own rule — like when my daughter won the award. I posted that right in the middle of the week. But…I did follow up with a meaty post later than night.

    It works for me, but everyone’s mileage may vary.


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