Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down: Memes

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down is a newish feature on my blog. If you are a loyal follower of my blog, you know that I put a big emphasis on interaction and discussion and my favorite posts are the ones with a lot of interaction. I also like a good healthy debate where opinions are shared and respected. You may also know that I like talking about random bookish things. Put all of that together and you get my inspiration for this new feature. Every other week I will give a topic to be discussed. You can give your vote on whether or not it is a thumbs up or a thumbs down for you and then explain why. The topics will cover anything related to reading, blogging, the book industry, etc. etc. Basically whatever is on my mind! This feature is NOT intended to be a place to bash anybody or start a nasty fight or controversy. It is a platform for a mature discussion and sharing of opinions. It is also NOT a feature in order to TELL you how you should blog or act or think. Just a discussion of ideas.

This week I want to talk about memes. Memes have become an integral aspect of many online communities — especially in the book blogging world. A meme, by definition, a “virally-transmitted cultural symbol or social idea” with the idea that it is replicated by others. In the book blogging world we have many memes and it seems as though there are new ones popping up all the time. Most who have been immersed in the book blogging world have come across popular memes like In My Mailbox, Book Blogger Hop, Waiting on Wednesday and more. Memes can be weekly or monthly or yearly–such as the Best of 2010 survey I created this year.

What I want to know: Do you participate in memes? Why or why not? If you do, which ones?  How many memes are too many? Do you skip over memes in your Google Reader? Do you think memes are useful in the blogging community? Do you like seeing non-bookish memes on book blogs?

Rock that vote:

My Opinion:

It’s hard to give a definitive thumbs up or thumbs down for this one. I see the good and I see the “bad.” The only meme I participate in regularly is Top Ten Tuesday (hosted at my other blog) because I find it to be of substance and I learn a lot about the other participants from their bookish lists AND it’s always a good discussion starter. I participate in In My Mailbox from time to time. I’ve discovered some of my favorite blogs through seeing similar interests on lists. When I first started out blogging in June, I did participate in the Blog Hop. I find memes to be fun and useful but I also find them mildly irritating from time to time. I think memes are useful when you are new as they really help you to find other bloggers and ease your way in to the bookish community. I think memes are a casual way to get to know others and I think they do provide a little content for when you don’t have a book review. I personally just don’t like going to a blog and seeing meme after meme. They are fun but I’m looking for some substance in a book blog. That’s just me though. I typically skip over some memes in my Google Reader if I’m just not that interested. It doesn’t annoy me. I just skip over them. The blogs I follow all have great content so if they have a meme or two a week, I’m cool with that. Sometimes I will comment on the meme if I glance over it and see something interesting brought up. I think memes can be a great uniting force in making the book blogging community come together but I DO get overwhelmed by how many memes are out there. A lot of them are great but I’ve just chosen to not participate.

Click here to see past Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down topic.

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. I think I pretty much agree with what you said. Yea, I skip over some of them in my reader, but that's OK. Some weeks they are more interesting than others, and some weeks I have more TIME than others. Good thoughts.

  2. Ginger @ GReads! says:

    Yup, I'm a meme whore. And I'm not ashamed to admit it lol. I have one up on my blog just about daily. I keep with the same ones week after week though. Every once in awhile I'll skip, or I'll throw in something new. But I think the meme's that I do participate in have become a staple to my blog. The followers who come back time & time again want to read what I have to say about that particular topic. And if you don't, then click the browser closed. No harm taken.

    I think this question goes back to personalizing your blog. It's YOURS, do what you want with it. There are no written rules. This isn't high school people. Make your blog what makes you happy. If it's meme's – then put 'em out there!

    I personally love seeing the vlogs for In My Mailbox & I also really enjoy "Waiting On" Wednesdays. They've helped me a lot when it comes to book recommendations.

  3. Collect Dreams says:

    I really like memes, but I think that it's kind of like you said, that because I'm really new to the whole blogging thing, they really help me a lot. I also find they can be really useful for recommendations. I currently am only participating in one (which is new this week,hosted at Tiny Library), but thinking about joining in with the Top Ten Tuesday thing, as I'm very excited about lists!
    I can see how they could become annoying thought…

  4. Looksie Lovitz says:

    I swing both ways.

    I hate when bloggers have like 50 memes. Ok, Im exaggerating but you get my point. There are like 5 memes and only one review in a week. I skip over almost all of them. Once in a while I will click on a Waiting On Wednesday post or an IMM post because it lets me know what books are out there. Or if it's a book I'm dying to read- I'll check out a Teaser Tuesday. Blog Hop and Follow Friday are cool and all but I don't find them all that interesting. And as nice as having followers is, I don't want to be a blogger whore doing memes just to gain followers and be on an endless quest for more because that's not why I blog. (I'm not saying that what people with memes do but I'm saying I won't do something I'm not interested in for the sake of followers.)

    All that being said, I do 2 memes (or maybe I should just call them weekly features since no one else does them)but since neither are popular ones I feel like it makes my content a bit more original and different.

  5. Looksie Lovitz says:

    I should rephrase. I don't mind if you have a ton of memes even though I prolly won't read them but I also want to see actual reviews. I don't like when the memes overwhelm the entire blog. But like Ginger said, it's their blog, they can do what they want. That's just my preference.

  6. Ginger– You little meme whore you 😛 I agree with you..if I see a meme that doesn't interest me..I skip it! I do read some memes that I don't participate in from time to time on my fave blogs.

    And I agree with really does go back to what you want YOUR blog to be about. Gotta do what works for you. Just like people will ultimately decide if what you do works for them to read. I think memes can be a good way to get to know people — like on your blog I love seeing your music recs.

    I just like knowing what others think on certain topics 🙂 These discussions are never to try to tell people what they do wrong or right. Hopefully people do find them helpful if they are starting out to see what options they have to make their blog their own!

  7. Jenni Elyse says:

    Right now, I participate in a meme everyday except Monday and Saturday. And, I participate in three on Friday. O_o I don't necessarily like participating in that many memes, but with the amount of time I have right now because of school, it's really the only way I can put posts on my blog. But, I'm starting to think I'm participating in too many. And, I think it's time for a change, which is ironic because I started doing the memes in the first place to morph my blog into a more bookish blog than an "All about me blog." But, I know I need the change.

    I think one or two memes would be fine, it's just a matter of choosing which memes to do because I really like the bookish ones to find others who have similar interests as me. But, I also really like the non-bookish ones for the same reason.

    But, thanks for the food for thought.

  8. I regularly participate in a couple of memes; It's Monday What Are You Reading because I think it is a good way to share what I'm reading and see what others are reading, and Top Ten Tuesday, much for the same reasons you mentioned in you post. I occasionally do a Hop or Booking Through Thursday if I like the question, but not every week. When I first started blogging I participated in quite a few memes, both for networking reasons but also to create content (I'm a slow reader, so I can't post several reviews a week). I stopped doing it because I realised many of them were just empty content, and that I didn't have to post something every day to attract readers.

    I usually at least skim other people's memes, as some of them can be very interesting and reveal something about the blogger. Like Ginger I really like the vlogs for In My Mailbox, because it's fun to see the person behind the blog – and of course find new books to read!

  9. As a new blogger, I'm actually relieved by the existence of book memes. Participating or sometimes lurking, has taken me to some great blogs, and some very interesting book conversations. I can see how it would get tedious, but I see it sort of like books. There are billions of them out there, but I don't have to read every one, or even one of every genre. You pick your memes like you pick your books like you choose your friends. 🙂

  10. I like memes when they have purpose, substance or tell me something new about the blogger but (from my experience) this is rarely the case. I like the Top Ten Tuesday – though I have yet to participate in it – because it really does flush out opinions from people.

    Honestly, I tend to skip over Blog Hops, In My Mailbox, and Waiting on Wednesday posts in my feeds. There are so many blogs that participate in them that I get really overwhelmed by the amount of posts for each, but on the flip side it tends to make blogs that don't participate in those memes stand out a little bit more and then I tend to read those posts.

    The only memes I've ever really done are Fairy Tale Fridays (which is basically reviewing short stories) and A Weekend to ReCOVER (which just started recently and discusses book art). I also tried starting a meme called Series in September last year but it never caught on so I guess it's technically a "feature" rather than a meme.

  11. Actin' Up with Books says:

    I like memes and participate in a few of them. I usually post to The Story Siren's In My Mailbox when I have books to share. If I didn't receive any books, I just skip it for the week. I also like to post to Top Ten Tuesday and Waiting on Wednesday when I have something to contribute (especially when it is a new book that I've just discovered and it hasn't appeared on a ton of blogs). I don't participate in them every week just so that I will have something to post. But don't get me wrong, I like to check out memes even when I don't participate. It's a good way to check out a lot of blogs at once (especially when a link-up is used), to find out the blogger's interests and find some new blogs to follow.
    I've visited several blogs that are only memes, but I usually do not follow them. Not to say that I won't, but I need a blog with a little more substance.

  12. I don't love them. I see too many of them, and I get annoyed with a lot of them. Sometimes, it's fun to see what people got IMM, but I rarely if ever actually read the post, and I never watch the vlogs. I also never look at the Wows.

    I like the memes that are more like features better, like Top Ten Tuesday. When they inspire discussion, and require more effort than copy/paste the GR summary.

  13. Chrisbookarama says:

    When I first started, I did memes regularly. They are great prompts if you don't know what to write about. They're also great community builders. I met a lot of blog buddies that way. As time went on, I got bored with them and I often felt like I was saying the same thing over and over again. So I don't do any now. (Maybe Wordless Wednesday once in awhile or Weekend Cooking- something not book related.)

    As for reading blogs who do them, I usually skip those posts unless it's really interesting. If someone only does memes, I doubt I follow them anyway.

  14. I do like to participate in and read memes. The only one I do on a regular, weekly basis, though is In My Mailbox. I love looking at the pictures of everything everyone has received for the week and because I don't review anything with more than 100 Amazon or GR ratings on my blogs it's really one of the only ways for me to connect with some of the other bloggers by talking about the bigger names out there.

    The only meme I actually don't like reading is Top Ten Tuesday. Sorry! I just don't usually like the questions asked and I don't usually have time to read through 5 posts x 10 books and reasons for {whatever the question is}. I usually just skip over these ones.

    I think memes can be a great way for new blogs to get noticed in the community (like me!) but I also think if this is mostly all a person posts then I probably wont be too interested in reading the blog.

  15. I ended up giving this a "thumbs up" even though I rarely participate in memes. The only one that I have participated in during the last month has been Top Ten Tuesday. 🙂

    For my blogging style, I simply don't have time to do all those memes. Since I put up multiple posts per book, my weeks are packed full of heavier postings. I try not to double post, so that only leaves so much room for posts other than reviews or my weekly wrap-up style posts.

    On other blogs, I don't mind memes as long as the blogger is doing one every day and that is all I see. I do think some of them get repetitive. I don't look at any Waiting on Wednesday posts or Teaser Tuesdays. I do like IMM posts since I can drool over what everyone else gets. 🙂

    To sum it up, I like a happy medium! And I do think that memes are a great way for new bloggers to find other book blogs and publicize their space!

  16. I'm quite new to the community side of blogging and I have to say I quite like the memes out there. I have unfollowed a few blogs which were too meme-heavy (more than 3 per week) but I quite like the variety! Everyone does different ones (I've never even heard of Top Ten Tuesday!) so you get some common content across different bloggers and you get some that actually contribute to the individuality of the blog (e.g. "Thursday Thirteen, ah that's the Work in Progress blog"). Because I use Google Reader, all the blogs merge into one sometimes!

    I am also just starting to get into doing memes myself because I'm trying to post every day (though I failed to do so today) and they're good for plugging gaps!

    There is definitely too much of a good thing though.

  17. I do the Top Ten Tuesday meme and The Literary Blog Hop. Both, I think, yield some interesting posts. I used to do Crazy for Books Blog Hop, but in general, I'm not the target audience for the vast majority of blogger posting on that meme. I'll occasionally come across another meme that looks interesting, but I resist participating because I think two are enough, and I don't want my blog to turn into nothing but memes.

  18. Jayme @ Horribly Bookish says:

    While I think memes are fun and great way to be able to post every single day, I think too many draw the blog reader's attention away from the true content on the blog. I've unsubscribed from a few blogs which feature too many memes–I've seen several sights that do three to four a day. I'm new to the blogging community and I've only participated in IMM and Top Ten Tuesday–IMM because I sharing what books I've going to dive into soon and because I love see all the fun books over have received. I decided to do Top Ten Tuesday because I loved the idea and I love list. So, basically, a blog with memes= thumbs up. A blog with too many memes= thumbs down.

  19. Jessica (Firefly Book Loft) says:

    I kind of go either way. I don't like my feed being clogged up by tons and tons of memes every day but sometimes they are fun so I understand people wanting to.

    I do a couple, like Teaser Tuesday and every now and then Waiting on Wednesday. But that's really about it…and they are random when I put them up. The only one I try to do at least every other week is IMM.

  20. April (BooksandWine) says:

    Okay, so memes.

    I think WoW is dumb. That is what goodreads is for, or Books To Pine For and other such variations.

    I also think Teaser Tuesday is dumb. I mean how lazy is it to just post some sentence from the book you read. Those rarely ever convince me to read the book in question.

    I love Top Ten Tuesday because it actually requires an iota of thought. It's not just the same cover of the same freakin book over and over.

    I love IMM because people make vlogs so it's like I know them in real life. Also because I like the visual element.

    I love Fragment Friday for the same reason, because thats a vlog based meme.

    Those follow meme hops are kind of dumb too. What a waste of a post. HEY ALL I AM PARTICIPATING IN A HOP MY CONTENT ON ITS OWN ISNT INTERESTING ENOUGH TO GET VISITORS. Puh-lease. I mean, okay, I get participating, but meh. Just smacks of desperation to me.

  21. Jacinda (The Reading Housewives) says:

    WoW has to be my favorite meme just because I find sooo many new books to read that way, more than I even see added on Goodreads. If I see WoW posts, I open every one.

    Me personally, I'm a new blogger, less than 3 weeks old, so we do IMM, Top Ten Tuesday OR Teaser Tuesday, WoW, and Book Blogger Hop/Follow Friday. These are the ones I like the most and what interests me the most about the Book Blogger/Follow Friday hop is that I get to learn more things about bloggers other than what books they like.

    I do understand passing up the meme's on blogs, sometimes if I don't have enough time to look through my reader, I will pass up the meme first.

  22. TNBBC Super Mod says:

    Oh. No. Not Meme's. Some people seem to have created a blog merely to support their addicition to particpating in and posting meme's. I stumble across blogs every day that seem to have very little original content, and that is a rather large turn off for me.

    I do not participate in them, personally. I tried to make my own weekly topics – like once a week reporting on what I'm reading and why – and I couldn't even commit myself to THEM, let alone someone elses 🙂

    Everything in moderation. Please.

  23. I agree with Jenny O. and , oh, just about everybody here. Sometimes memes are great and sometimes they're annoying. I'm new to blogging so I'm still experimenting. For the most part I have a positive feeling towards most of them. I'd love to invent one that gets popular . . . something "edgy" to match my blog's name.

  24. literarywife says:

    I find it interesting my reaction to this post. Automatically, I thought "Thumbs Down" because I never read Teaser Tuesdays or Follow Fridays or Waiting on Wednesdays. Never. I skip over every one. But then I thought, "IMM is a meme. Top Ten Tuesday is a meme, etc. I enjoy those." In the end, it's not really the fact that it's a meme that bothers me, it's when the meme doesn't require much effort to post. I want substance!!! Even if that means you only post 2 times a week, just make it something that counts!

  25. Oh yes. I agree with Lori. Make up your own. You don't need to do them every week (I have a few I've made for myself to do monthly). I love reading the ones that are made specifically to someone's blog especially when I'm reading the blog because I thought it was different and interesting.

  26. I also find it hard to give a definitive thumbs up or thumbs down on memes. I participate in a few but have been contemplating cutting back. I do like reading WonW, IMM, the Hop/FF, and TTT, but usually skip over the rest. I think it comes down to what you want to do – if you hate memes, don't do them. If you love them, rock them out! If people don't want to read a post, be it a meme, feature, review, or whatever, they won't. Don't change your blog just because someone happens to think differently than you. It's all about the love in the book blogging world peeps 🙂

  27. I like some of the memes – Top Ten Tuesday being my favorite :o) I've been doing the Book Blogger Hop lately – partly because I figured out what it was, and because I wanted to "get out there" in the book blogger world. And I recently started doing "Notable Quotables" from the Bewitched Bookworms, because it seems fun to share and discuss a different quote each week.

    I'll be the first to admit though that I'm starting to get exhausted with them all! I read books relatively fast, which means I post reviews relatively often – with memes, it means I'm posting a blog almost every day, and it's kind of wearing me out. I may drop Notable Quotables and skip the next couple Blog Hops, just to give myself a break.

    I do like memes though – they can be really interesting, if the blogger is fully participating. I like seeing the answers that people come up with – I DO NOT like when bloggers just gloss over giving a real answer and are just doing memes to post links to their blog all over the place. That can get kind of annoying.

    As for reading memes – I read at least 50% of them. I especially like the IMM vlogs – it's nice to see fellow book bloggers "in person"!

  28. So, memes. Everyone has pretty much covered this topic of conversation. But I wanted to jump in and say that just about in every situation, original content beats memes in my opinion. That being said, I'm not a constant flow of original content, so I will participate in a meme or 2 each week when I haven't really had time to organize personal posts or reviews. And, some memes are better than others as far as actually being meaningful goes!

  29. thebookfairyhaven says:

    Absolutely agree with you. I participate in 2 memes – those being IMM and WoW but I don't do any more and try not to let the meme's be the focus of my blog. I know this may be rude, but I just don't bother reading a blog if it just consists of memes or if the memes overwhelm the blog so much that the review/feature/article content on the blog seems to drown underneath it.

  30. Jessica Lawlor says:

    I've limited myself to two memes a week. I pride myself on that original content I provide, but I really do enjoy joining in IMM and WoW. IMM is awesome because it's so fun to see vlogs and photos of bloggers and books, and I always find a TON of books to add to my TBR list through WoW.

    Like you, I skip some memes in my Google Reader, but IMM and WoW are def. the two I join in and comment on most frequently!

  31. Bibliophile says:

    I only participate regularly in the Top Ten Tuesdays meme.

    I find well thought out memes to be a good way to supplement a blog, to introduce yourself and your reading habits, to connect with other bloggers and discover new blogs when used in moderation.

    However, when I come across a blog that is almost entirely made up of memes, I go 'tut-tut, this person doesn't have any ideas of their own'.

  32. I only participate in In My Mailbox, Retro Friday (a meme that is hosted over at Angieville for under-the-radar books) and I host my own Want Books meme. I started the Want Books meme because I live in the Philippines and before the Book Depository started delivering here, it was really hard to get some of the books that I really wanted. So instead of complaining that I couldn't get the books that I want, I thought it would be a good idea to just start a meme to highlight them. It's similar to Waiting on Wednesday but I usually feature books that have already been released.

    Like you, I don't really mind memes. I usually skip over them in my Google Reader but I understand that some bloggers like doing memes to get to know other people better. I'm fine with that as long as they also have other content on their blog.

  33. The only widespread meme I take part in is In My Mailbox (which I renamed to Added to the Pile just to be different). I'm not a big fan of them because they can get overwhelming pretty quickly, especially if you don't have other content to balance them out. Your blog ends up looking very mechanized if you have too many going on.

    I think they can be useful or highlighting upcoming books or things like that but they become useless if everyone uses the same book for Waiting on Wednesday, or something like that. Generally I skip over them whenever I come to them in my reader just because I'm rarely interested.

    I don't mind non-bookish memes because it lets some of the book blogger out from behind the books ad allows their readers to get to know them better but I'd top it off at one.

  34. I don't really care for them. I'd rather come up with my own weekly features even if they get less attention. Memes just seem like a way to get a lot of comments on your blog and I find that a little stressful for some reason.

  35. I can't say anything that hasn't already been said, but personally I dislike memes. I hardly ever read them and think they are sort of annoying. That said, some of them I like, like our Top Ten Tuesday, because those are fun and require thought, plus it tells a little bit about the blogger. I used to do the hops, but then I didn't think I needed them anymore, plus I wasn't sure how many people were just following just to get a follow back.

  36. OH MY GOSH……I have a serious love/hate relationship with meme's. They are like a really shady boyfriend that is pretty useless that I JUST CAN'T SEEM TO STOP GOING BACK TO.

    In my honest opinion, meme's don't appeal to me all that much. Sure, I think in my mailbox is a fascinating way to connect with other bloggers, and especially for me living in the UK, it's nice to actually see covers of US books and maybe hear about books I would otherwise never have known about even though I do stalk goodreads. However, sometimes IMM fracks me off because it seems to turn into a popularity contest over who got the most review copies or like HEY LOOK AT ME I GOT ALL THESE BOOKS, and it just grates on me. I took months off participating in that particular meme because of the bad vibes i got from it, BUT, it's one of those things, i take the good with the bad and sometimes i go back and participate for a couple of weeks and then get bored. So basically, I only like memes because they help me be lazy. Most just annoy me. sorry!

  37. bookmagic says:

    Memes are like anything else, fine if done in moderation. the only one I do right now is What Are You reading Monday b/c that kind of helps me keep track of my reading but I would like to do another that gives my readers more of an idea about who I am. I have kind of lost track of all the different ones. I don't mind memes as long as they are just part of the blog, not the whole blog.

  38. I think Memes are a thumbs up for me. I love to do them, when I have the time, or resources. I participate in them as much as possible. Some of them I can't participate in, like In My Mail Box, because I don't receive books in the mail. But I do enjoy them!

    P.s. I left you an award on my blog. I'm not expecting you to repost the award, or pass it on. I would just like if you accepted the award on a comment on my blog. Thanks!

  39. I like memes when a blogger doesn't do an excessive amount of them. I only do two per week but it irks me when people do like one a day.

  40. Thanks for the post, do you have any other similar related posts?

  41. Small Review says:

    Oh dear, so much dislike for memes! I participate in a ton of memes, but I try to modify them to fit my blog and provide more solid content.

    I participate in Cover Crazy where a beautiful cover is posted, but I turned this one into a cover review where I break down the elements of the cover and talk about how effective the cover is in catching my attention and connecting with the book.

    I also take part in WoW and IMM. I post pictures, but I also try to discuss the books a little. Why I chose them, why I'm looking forward to them, what other books they remind me of, etc.

    On Tuesdays I alternate between Tween Tuesday meme and Forget Me Not meme. For Tween Tuesday I post a book review of a tween book. Forget Me Not I post a book review of a book that is no longer brand new.

    I hope I'm not alienating people by participating in so many memes, though three are full reviews. I started my blog to be a place for book recommendations and discussion, and I think I've chosen memes and altered them so they fit my goals there.

  42. I think some memes are better then others. I do pass by blogs if I see that they do nothing other then reviews and memes or that they don't even put an effort into the meme they participate in.

    I like Introverted Jen's Character Connection Thursdays though I haven't done one in a while as I've ran out of characters I can write enough about, and some Weekly Geeks questions as well.

    It's good to connect with other bloggers through thoughtful memes but otherwise, too much energy for too little return.

  43. I participate in four different memes which is quite a few, I know but I like doing them a lot. As a blogger who has just started off, I feel like memes are a good way for me to be a part of the blogging community and also a good way to get readers. I think the one thing that’s hard for me is to keep up with the memes every week. I’d like to have a consistency in my posts but it’s hard to make a post on something I have no interest in or no material for. Overall, I do think that memes are good and I love participating in them, though I don’t think I’ll be joining any more…