Thursday, October 29, 2009

ON BLOGGING ~ Beyond the Meme...

Welcome to our weekly BlogAnon meeting where we confess a particular blogging sin and turn to you for support, suggestions and that blogging bond so we know we're not all alone. Don't be shy. Read along and let us know if you identify with us this week.

Yesterday we posted our 52nd Thursday Thirteen which means that every post we did on a Thursday for the past year was for a meme. On Monday we posted our 52nd Monday Movie Meme which means that every post we did on a Monday for the past year was for a meme that we created and host. There have been 39 Teaser Tuesday posts, 22 Wordless Wednesdays and 40 Shutterdays on Friday evenings.

So basically, there have been weeks where we have had a meme related post every day. And I'm not sure I like that result. You see, back when I was participating in ProBlogger's Build A Better Blog, I had a forum buddy take a blind look at our blog and I did the same for her's. One piece of feedback I remember was that on first glance one of her impressions was that we did lots of memes. Another time we did a cross-post with another blogger whose readers commented that our site sure did have a lot of memes. When I took a look at our blog with open eyes I realized that they were right. Back then we were also participating in Top 5 on Friday which is a music themed meme. We were doing a meme a day.

I decided it was time to de-meme our blog and dropped Top 5 on Fridays and scaled back Teaser Tuesdays for only when I had finished a book so I could use the meme post to share my review as well. And I decided to only provide a Wordless Wednesday entry if I had an UpTake article to cross promote with it. That opened up more room for non-meme posts each week but allowed us to continue to participate in the ones that drove a lot of traffic to our blog.

The Thursday Thirteen site funnels more visitors to our blog than anything other than Blogger and Google searches. And The Daily Meme, where we have our Monday Movie Meme listed, comes in right behind Thursday Thirteen's site as a top traffic source. So in that regard memes are very good to us. And both of those memes are self-directed. Thursday Thirteen has no rules other than that each week you are to share 13 things about yourself - in any format that you would like, on any topic you choose. We can turn most any idea into a Thursday Thirteen post. And since we host the Monday Movie Meme, we dictate the topic and get first dibs on movies to fit the theme.

But in planning out our post schedule for the upcoming month, I sometimes struggle with where to fit in the creative posts about sports, adventures, musical thoughts, personal observations and whatever else might be on our minds. I also don't want people to categorize our blog as a meme blog. Memes get a bad wrap from many who feel they are the easy way out - just answer a bunch of pre-established questions instead of using your brain to come up with your own original topic. I find that sometimes we do use the memes as a crutch to build posts around.

So I wonder what to do about it all. Maybe we'll take a break from Thursday Thirteen in November just to see how it goes. Will our visitor level drop off substantially? Or will people come by anyway to see what we've got cooked up? But if we can make virtually any topic into a Thursday Thirteen, what's the harm in continuing to use them as a vehicle for creativity while at the same time introducing ourselves to new people each week? Going beyond the meme entirely is obviously something we're conflicted about.

Are you overloaded with memes? Do you care? Are you a former memer? How did you make the break away from them? Did it impact your audience and your blog? Do you think memes are for kids or do you like the purposes they serve? Don't be afraid to share - your blogger thoughts are safe with us.


Sandy Nawrot said...

Hey guys! So glad to be back and reading you, and glad you are back from vacation! Good topic this week. I'm not sure I ever overloaded myself with memes, but the temptation was there. On the other hand, I can't possibly write enough book reviews to fill every day. So I settled on something in between. Your Monday Movie Meme (which is a huge draw for traffic!) and my pictures on (not so) Wordless Wednesday. WW doesn't draw all that much traffic, but I look at it as a nice relaxing break mid-week. Personally, I like your current mix of daily posts. I hope you don't stop doing the TT...I love them! They are some of the most creative lists out there!

Susan said...

Personally I love memes...learning about my blog friends...and it intrigues me that people can be that creative in thinking up things about themselves. I'm not sure I could thing up a list of things myself that would be that interesting to my (few) followers.

I will say the few times I've done your movie one, I've had really great responses. So maybe I should do more, eh? Especially since I'm only a-post-a-week blogger.

Your lists are so funny and creative. Love reading them!

kayerj said...

I started blogging privately with my family. When I started surfing through some public blogs I noticed how everybody played meme's and thought that looked like fun. So I made a public blog and started playing. I think it's a ton of fun. Though I'm finding so many that I'm having to pick the most fun ones to participate in. These are my favorite meme's:

Monday Missions
Monday Movies
Tuesday Teasers
Wordless Wednesday
Sepia Scenes/Window Views
Photo Story Friday
Saturday Photo Hunt

I occassionaly play
Monday Musings
A-Z Wednesday
Booking thru Thursday

I have two days for my own personal writing, but for my blog format I called them Tuesday Tales and Thesaurus Thursday.

My highest traffic comes from Tuesday Teaser with Wordless Wednesday 2nd and Sepia Scenes 3rd.

Playing meme's is how I got a following and how I found people's blogs--so in my opinion meme's are great!

And even though this isn't posted on my blog you could probably classify "On Blogging" as a meme too. Thanks for hosting. You are always great fun.

Margot said...

I'm so glad you brought up this subject because it's been on my mind for a while now. For me it's part boredom. I do Teaser Tuesday and Wondrous Words Wednesday every week. They are fun to do and I really like doing them. But, I think it makes my blog look the same every week. Bor - ing.
The other problem with memes is that I feel obligated to visit all the other people who are participating in the meme. But, that can be a huge chore. Teaser Tuesday often has over a hundred participants. Tuesday has begun to feel like I'm back at work.
I'm not sure what I'm going to do but, as usual, I feel better after writing it down. Thank you for hosting the weekly meeting.

The Bumbles said...

Margot - I think you have nailed what I'm feeling exactly - BO-RING. That's how it feels mapping out the posts sometimes. Same old same old and then sprinkle in a few new/original things. I enjoy the ones we take part in or I wouldn't do/host them. But the repetitive nature of them each week gets me down sometimes.

As for feeling obligated to visit everyone's entries? I don't. In the beginning I visited everyone in order to introduce myself and meet bloggers. Now I reply to anyone who comments on an entry and that's it. If I have time I go around and randomly visit entries - but usually only based on the people who give me a head's up of what is waiting for me rather than just a simple "here's mine."

The Bumbles said...

Kaye - Without memes it would have been difficult for us to easily meet the blogging community that we hold near and dear now. That is why I feel guilty discontinuing my regular participation in them. But you know - when I backed off of Teaser Tuesdays I found that the book blogging community didn't abandon us after all. So I think my worries are unfounded.

I can understand why your photo memes are such a good draw - your photos are always amazing. We hardly ever gain new visitor via the WW site - I think that is because there are over 300 entries and no one ever gets that far to find us. I visited over 100 WW entries one week and maybe 5 people recipricated the comment so I decided it wasn't worth my effort.

As for BlogAnon being considered a meme - I hadn't thought of it that way. To me a meme is something that spurs a related post on each participant's blog linking back to the host. I envision BlogAnon as a discussion that takes place here. If it inspires other original posts elsewhere that is great, but not necessary.

The Bumbles said...

Susan & Sandy - Thank you for enjoying our Thursday 13 posts and for participating in the MMM. I like your ability to mix memes in here and there when you are interested/need a break/want to mix things up. That is what I aspire to do.

Unknown said...

I think memes are fine and can be quite fun so long as a person doesn't do just memes because that gets a little boring and you don't get to know the blogger. But your blog seems to have a nice mix and some of the memes such as this one and Thursday Thirteen are more personal.
Maybe you can pose a question to the crowd, a fine, fantsy or discussion type question or some people think leaving one day that you don't blog is a good idea.

I'm still trying to figure out what I think about my blog! What do you want to do with your blog?!

Unknown said...

If you go to my blog you'll know I am biased but how about giving Teddy & Lucy, 2 of the cutest, most adorable bundles of fur, their day to blog and tell what thy think about the community! With pictures of them of course!


Mike said...

I have a split. I do tues-fri memes and the other three days are wide open!

ds said...

I love your Monday Movie Meme, because it is so interesting. But as I can't ever come up with a list of my own, I stop by here & Sandy's & now susan's, comment & get ideas from all of you for what flicks I should watch someday. Is that wrong--cheating somehow?

I definitely admire everyone's organizational abilities.I could never plot out my posts for a month; only rarely can I figure out two in a row!! (BTW, I loved your Thirteen list yesterday; it was wonderful to read & catch up on all of the wonderful Bumbly posts I've missed)

Patty Reiser said...

Desert Greetings Molly and Andy,
I do partcipate in a few memes throughout the week as it is a good source of traffic.
My approach to participating in the memes is to work the meme around the objectivity of my blog and not the other way around. And if I can't do that, then I just don't participate that week.
It will be interesting to see your stats while you are not participating in the Thursday 13. I hope you will share.
Wishing you both a picture perfect Halloween weekend!

PS. Took a trip into JTNP this afternoon. It's gorgeous right now.

Unknown said...

Excellent topic and observations.

Except for Friday Fill-ins which doesn't fit with the theme of my blog but brings in a lot of traffic, I've cut back on memes. I really love to play with your movie Mondays but post my movies on your blog so I can post my own article on mine. I'm at work on Mondays so unless you posted Sunday night, I wouldn't be able to post it to my blog until Monday evening anyway. I usually pre-schedule my posts. On Friday Fill=ins sometimes I end up staying up later than I'd like so I can catch it before I go to bed or else I'll miss it, too.

I was going all over the place with my blog and got some feed back that mirrored a lot of my own thoughts - I was all over the place with my posts. So I'm trying to make mine about writing and reading and promotion (for writers). I try to sneak in my personal stuff into my articles - things that remind me of a writing dilemma.

I don't know if that's why my traffic is increasing or if it's the Friday Fill-ins or visiting your blog or posting on Twitter a lot or my Saturday Snippets (romance novel excerpts). It's probably a combination of the different things I'm doing.

I'd like to visit your blog and others more. I've been ultra busy. But I hope to visit more when things settle down. November is nanowrimo, however so I doubt it's this month. :)

Good luck! Keep up posted. I love to learn new ways to make my blog and my books better.

kayerj said...

You are right, this is a discussion not a meme, and I like discussing things with you. BTW, it was on WW that I found your page. I also liked the tip about leaving more information about what's on my page when I link up.

You had some good comments today :)

shoreacres said...

This isn't meant to be judgemental at all - just a statement of fact. I think there are bloggers, and there are writers who use the blogging platform to develop their craft, promote their work - whatever.

Many of the things that are common, accepted and enjuoyed in "blog-blogs" don't fit so well in "writing-blogs". One of the blogs I read regularly proudly proclaims itself "Blog-Things Free since 2008" (or whatever the date is).

Quizzes, memes, videos, photos and such are perfectly fine and often very enjoyable. But I'm more concerned with content, and writing essays that will stand the test of time.

I've responded to only one meme, which asked for personality traits, but that, too, became an essay.

As far as traffic goes, I'm pretty much at the bottom of the food chain, I suppose. But over the months three things have happened: comments have increased, regular readers have developed, and my hits from the search engines have really begun to climb.

It makes sense. People find me who are searching for Monet, Faulkner, pelican poems, the muse, the fates, Spica, etc. I'm still getting readers for posts from my first months at WP because of content searches.

It's just a different way of doing business - not better and not worse, just different ;-)

Anonymous said...

I do Teaser Tuesday every week and I try and do your movie meme a few times a month. Unfortunately on Mondays I post my quiz and some of my weekly quizzes takes too much energy to do anything else creative that day :)
I have already decided to drop Teaser Tuesday in 2010, only because I'm not really enjoying it as much as I did at the beginning.
I was thinking of picking up Thursday 13 because they are some of my favorite posts. It allows you to be creative with little structure. You are excellent at this :) Selfishly, I hope you don't give that meme up!

The Bumbles said...

Amy = What do we want to do with our blog? That is a loaded question. One that the Build A Better Blog project asked right from the beginning. We are not a book blog, or a photo blog, or a writing blog. We don't really have a niche which is usually a no-no. We want to entertain by talking about the things that interest us. So I guess our niche is entertainment with humor.

The Bumbles said...

Otin = I admire your writing which shines through regardless of the format in which you post. It proves to me that it is the quality of the content, rather than the method of delivery, that draws people in.

The Bumbles said...

DS = Lots of people play along with the MMM just in our Comments - not cheating at all :0)

I need organization. My lack of it this month made blogging more chaotic and less enjoyable. I'm back to plotting out a guideline for November - whether it includes some memes or not.

The Bumbles said...

Patty = We try to incorporate what we want to discuss on our blog within the memes we join too. I think that is a good strategy - otherwise you are no longer in control of your blog - the memes dictate and take over.

The Bumbles said...

Ashley = I have noticed the focus your posts have taken on. I love how you make analogies between your craft and everyday life. It adds a personal touch and makes it more relatable to everyone, while at the same time staying focused on your overall theme. That is why you are finding success.

The Bumbles said...

Soreacres = You are absolutely right - many different approaches - the key is to find the one right for you. I like that you post how you want to post and are drawing in like minded readers. I enjoy your blog precisely for the topics you cover and your writing. Variety amongst the styles of blogs/sites is great.

The Bumbles said...

Stacy = TT was why this blog was created. I will always owe a special something to it. It has grown so large that the small community is beginning to feel lost at times.

Misfit said...

Putting on my blog reader hat only I have to say that the memes drive me nuts and fill up my google reader, especially on Teaser Tuesday. I scan 99% of them unless it's a book I'm interested in and mark them all as read. I don't have time to comment on them all and have only done so when I had a book with a gorgeous quote that I thought worth sharing.

I don't expect a blog to providing daily content (let alone two and three posts a day) except for something with multiple participants like Dear Author. I'd rather see something different and original 2-3 times a week.

The Bumbles said...

Misfit = That is very true - meme posts do overflow my Reader too. But so do all the original posts people put up. I see what you are saying though - you are more likely to skim through or just skip over entirely meme related posts. I tend to do that more often though with the 20 Questions type 1x memes because I find them to be like chain letters.

Catherine @ The Blonde Diaries said...

I've been meaning to come and leave you a comment on this post. I first read it a few days ago and have been thinking about it ever since.

I've been going through a blah stage right now with life in general and my blog. I have found that I have lost my creativity and have left my blog up to memes and the obligatory paid post. Not very fun nor is it a reason for people to come and visit on a weekly basis. For some reason I have gotten it into my head that people just don't want to read about my day to day life or thoughts when I think that is the exact opposite. I keep forgetting that my blog is for me first and not about traffic, making money, etc.

So rather than cutting out my memes that I participate in, I think I am going to focus more on commenting back to those who stop by my blog, picking 3 to 5 new people to randomly commenting on and then adding at least one personal blog post or thought of the day. That way I have a mix and can still do the things I enjoy.

The Bumbles said...

Catherine = I'm glad this post got you thinking more about a new game plan. And what you have come up with sounds like a strong one. Do what you want, include posts that share and give people reason to tune in, and interact with other bloggers. Looking forward to seeing how your blog evolves.