Sunday, December 24, 2006

Meme games

Sparky Duck has tagged me for a meme, and as this is my first tagging I'll give it a go. Since his tagging contained no instructions (his exact words were, "Oh and I have tagged you for a meme, totally random like"), I'll take the opportunity to talk about meme tagging. The concept has been around for years, but I never paid much attention till now.

Originally, the word meme meant something like, "The cultural counterpart of a gene, a meme is a self-propagating unit of cultural evolution (an idea or value or pattern of behavior) that is passed from one generation to another by nongenetic means (as by imitation)." Meme rhymes with dream.

Now the word seems to be used more to mean "an idea transmitted from person to person like a virus." You might say it's a fancy word for "fad".

Meme games are a variation on the old chain letter, except they take advantage of the linking capabilities in blogs, so you only need to link to the person who tagged you for the meme. Sparky tags me, I tag someone else, and on and on. The key element is that when you are tagged you must provide a link to your tagger in your blog.

Meme games are a good way to increase your Technorati ranking and get some more traffic to your blog, but they serve a more important purpose, which is to create new connections between bloggers. Say I tag you with a book meme (for example, provide your five favorite books); you comply, and tag some of your friends to do the same. They look at your post and link to my list and perhaps we have something in common.

I'm not at all sure how to apply meme games to blogs like mine that aren't personal diaries. I can't see myself choosing someone from the Liblogs blogroll and tagging them with a meme. It could have cool consequences - illuminate our shared ideas, increase the bond between bloggers, increase traffic to our sites - but it seems to be a game for another realm. Or maybe we just need to find a way to further evolve the meme to our realm.



tom s. said...

I looked at the original post ( and I think you are supposed to list "5 things you dont know about me, since if your tagged, Im a freaking stranger".

Yappa said...

Oh-ho... I see it now. Thanks Tom. I actually supplied that link by looking him up... all he gave me was his blogger profile, which listed two blogs, one of which didn't seem to be in use. I never heard of the guy before he posted a comment on one of my recent hockey posts. (Posting about hockey has been an interesting experience because I have had a different sort of person replying, and I like them - it's refreshing after all the nasty politicos.) Anyway, I'm not sure who I'm supposed to aim what they don't know about me at, so I might use that as an excuse to let the spagetti hit the wall without effect, if you follow my drift. :-)

Sparky Duck said...

yea, it was the other blog, but it was a holiday shot in the dark