Memes have been around long before blogging. Being started, evolving and occasionally dying out, The advent blogging software rapidly spread the Meme phenomena to epidemic proportions. There is even The Daily Meme which provides a variety of entertainment from definitions to ideas.

Most of us participate occasionally, a few frequently. It is a shared social action that ties us together across countries and time zones. Since Ravelry seems to be more about discourse and databasing, I haven’t seen an impact on either the common posting or tag forms of memes and it just may have spread the quiz form that much faster.

You are all familiar with the Quizzes.  Several sites have a wide variety of choices that you take and then are provided HTML code to post to your own site. Most include a cute graphic describing you as a jelly donut or a cheesecake, or perhaps you checked to see if you were cotton, linen or wool.  The blogging effect is to increase traffic primarily to the quiz source and providing you content on a boring day.

The next group are the common or theme postings: Photo Friday, 365 Days, and the Alphabet are examples of this sort of meme. They draw a group together if it is a time limited meme and increase post reading among the participating members. The Webrings, brought over from static pages day are the only ones likely to increase outside readership.

Finally, there is the rampant meme that spreads with Tag.  The rules are simple – post the rules, leave messages on victim’s blogs to notify them of their tagged status, post your own answers, and link to whomever tagged you. The effect of these memes is to spread themselves to as many blogs as possible while increasing links between blogs, and [one hopes] increased readership as measured by hits or comments. The side effect of several of these is to spread personal information about one’s self. This information has as much potential to decrease readership as it does increase it.

It is obvious if you think about this in epidemiological terms most people actually don’t play. You are all familiar with the grain of rice and the chess board? Or the chain letter? The average meme asks you to tag five other bloggers. That is an R of 5. An infectious disease that has a replication value of 2 can easily become epidemic wrecking disaster on a population. The current models for pandemic influenza are actually in that range.

Now look at memes. What would happen if you actually tagged five people and they all did the meme? How long would it take to get around the world? Be on everyone’s board? How many cycles would it take?  I am sure that someone has done the modeling, maybe Fabienne who knit me the most wonderful socks in Sockapalooza4?

Why am I muttering around about this? I play only rarely.

Why? I find few which fit, are thought provoking or just so silly that I can’t resist. I have been posting architectural bits – Arches/Doors – for Photo Friday since I started blogging.  The following is not silly which means that it might fall into the thought provoking. Maybe. But mostly it might tell you more about me than you already know, a really scary concept.  Tagged by the Yarnarian – I lifted much of Carolyn’s intro to make my life easier:

“The rules of the game get posted at the beginning. Each player answers the questions about themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.”

1. What was I doing 10 years ago? Commanding Task Force Med Eagle in Bosnia. Co-located at the Blue Factory with NorMedCoy, we provided the medical support for MND(N) including evac by ground and air, Prev Med, Vet, Dental and Mental Health teams and the Role 3 hospital. Foremost on everyone’s mind was the upcoming 4th of July celebration. Hot topics included such important items as
1) Hanta (the band) and what were they going to play
2) weather
3) food
4) what were the chances of being allowed civilian clothes for the day given the theater dress code allowed for BDUs or PT Uniforms only.

2. What are 5 things on my to-do list for today? Sick Parade, update my CV, finish writing up my notes from last week’s meetings, file all the strewn about papers in my office, and work on one of the UFOs.

3. Snacks I enjoy: Carrots, peanut butter, trail mix, diet sodas and herb teas.

4. Things I would do if I were a billionaire: After I got done paying my taxes and the balance on the mortgage, I would grab one of the people in my DHs financial group for advice on avoiding any more tax; set up trusts (family, shul, and some educational institutions), a charitable foundation (hire the Eldest to run it – she has amazing organizational skills) and …….go back to work. I might buy a few toys that I don’t have but my life otherwise for the next three years wouldn’t change a lot.

5. Places I have lived: Minnesota (MPLS, Hopkins, Minnetoka, Chaska, St. Paul); Heidelberg, Stuttgart, Wuerzburg, Kaiserslautern, and Munich Germany; Camp Doha, Kuwait; Camberely UK (the high points including only those places where I was longer than 12 months).

6. Jobs I have had: Datapunch clerk. Night lab tech, strawberry picker, physician (couple of specialities) and 19 duty positions + duty positions with the Army (same employer for the last 27 years. Now how did that happen?)

7. Bloggers: 5 people who I hope are good sports:






I realized as I looked at their URLs, that there are two blogspots, two WordPress and a TypePad person. All of them do an amazing amount of knitting but all have different tastes. I covered a couple of continents and several states. (For those of you who are breathing a sigh of relief, I try to spread the joy around!)


The pattern is out for SKP2008. It is going to be my knitting this weekend as I head first to Switzerland then on to Majorca. Socks, cameras and the DHs office paying a good portion of the bill. What more could I want?

I decided to knock off the baby jacket first. Since I had to hang out at Croughton this morning, it just was the thing for a waiting room.

(imagine the picture – I will insert it as soon as I free up a USB port for uploading. This laptop only has two, one is tied up with the mouse and the other with the printer.)
Progress on the UFO

Books &

Good Blood by Aaron Elkins &
Shaman’s Crossing by Robin Hobb – both from the library.
on the MP3 is South Coast by Nathan Lowell. Get it from him or Podiobooks

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3 Responses to Memes

  1. fbz says:

    yeah i didn’t do a study, but i mused that someone must have tested the limits of memes. now i wonder how they morph over time…

  2. ruth says:

    You’re a sweetie for doing this. You can blame Carolyn. These memes remind me of chain letters.

  3. Cathy-Cate says:

    Meme answer going up tonight! Though I’m breaking the chain (or, how memes die out before spreading to every blog in the blogosphere….)

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