In Defense Of Memes

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So, there is a movement this week about the dreaded meme and how these things kill kittens and that they are navel gazing.

Of course memes are navel gazing. This is the Internet.

Memes can be  good for journalists. Not writing them necessarily, but reading them. Jane Devin addressed the issue on Facebook meme’s 25 things, which has received a great deal of negative publicity in Mainstream Media this week, but I wish to expand why exactly they can be used as a tool for journalists.

First of all, from a non-journalism standpoint, you learn about people. You find out things about what makes folks tick and this is what social media is about. Being, I don’t know, social perhaps, is the anatomy of a meme and that’s what Devin discusses in her post.

Now, why can a meme be useful for journalists? Because, campers, you can learn things at times about either the subject of a story you may be working on or, let’s say a crime has occurred, than you have something you can add about the mindset of the person accused perhaps.

If someone were to Google the name of a person of interest and you find a meme that person wrote, it’s not going to be the crux of your story, but it could help give you some insight.

Another thing a meme can do is help to discipline new bloggers into being more comfortable with writing and give them a focus. Not everyone has a business agenda and some people do just want to post pictures of their cats or their latest knitting project. Which is more than all right because there are no rules in blogging.

The meme is helpful in the blogging community. Blogging is highly personal to some people and these sort of things can create bonds. From Wordless Wednesdays to Thankful Thursdays, the meme helps non-professional writer become comfortable with the medium. There surely isn’t anything wrong with that. I had a conversation with a new blogger this week who is a former journalist earlier this week who just started a new blog. She was tentative about jumping into the fray. My suggestion to her was discipline yourself to write at least once a day, and start with memes and online blogging trends until she was more comfortable.

And, if you don’t like memes or viral blogging of this nature, don’t read them and don’t write them. Nobody is holding a gun to your head to do either. It’s really that simple.

It’s been said that Twitter was a waste of time and compared by a friend of mine a couple of years ago as the same thing as a bunch of drunk folks writing on a bathroom wall, however, look what has happened with that resource over the past two years as being an effective tool for journalists and business.

Anyone remember Ashley Dupre? Journalists tracked much of her social online networking through her MySpace and Facebook pages after the Eliot Spitzer scandal broke.

So, in defense of the meme, I’ll keep reading them and encourage everyone to join the fray. They can be fun on a social media plane, help fledgling bloggers and occasionally help you out with your story.

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5 Comments

  1. Amber said February 7, 2009 | Permalink

    THANK YOU! You nailed and Jave Devin nailed it.

    I love the way you think, Trace!

  2. Scott Adcox said February 7, 2009 | Permalink

    Here here!!! You know, I’ve been pretty critical of the “25 Things…” meme on Facebook, but not because it’s a meme. Every time I read one (and I read EVERY one), I think, “Dude! Why don’t you start blogging?!?!!?”

  3. Trace Sharp said February 7, 2009 | Permalink

    Excellent point as well, Scott. 🙂 Call me nutty, but I love blogging.

  4. Ron said February 7, 2009 | Permalink

    You’re nutty. 😀

  5. Amber said February 7, 2009 | Permalink

    (Oops – sorry I linked incorrectly the first time, but I corrected it!)

One Tweetback/Trackback

  1. I <3 Memes « Heartbreaktown on February 7, 2009

    […] Devin writes: It’s amusing to me that the list writers have been called narcissistic or self-obsessed for sharing some odd facts of their lives in a voluntary forum. It would seem to me that the most narcissistic people aren’t those who wrote the lists, but those who damned them. It reminds me of the Marlon Brando quote — “An actor’s a guy who, if you ain’t talking about him, ain’t listening.” So in defense of the list writers who wrote their 25 Things in the spirit of sharing or friendship, I offer my list of Five Reminders for Snarky, Pompous, and Overzealous Facebook Users: […]

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