Monday, December 18, 2006

To meme or not to meme

This morning I checked my email and favourite blogs, as I do nearly every day. I found that The Gay Expat had taken part in a meme on things one doesn’t know about him (I’m avoiding the exact title so it doesn’t end up in search engines) and tagged me as one of the people to continue it.

For the non-blogger or uninitiated, there’s some variation in the definition of a meme. To me it’s basically the blogging equivalent of a chain email. A blogger makes a post and others continue it in their own blogs. In this case, bloggers were tagged, like in the children’s game, but this doesn’t always happen (and it’s why this one especially reminded me of a chain email). Memes are generally meant as good-natured fun, and they don’t carry dark warnings of bad luck like chain emails do.

Except maybe this time it should have.

It turns out that the originator was a guy who was doing it, as near as I can make out, for purely commercial reasons. Folks associated with Vlog Europe caught on and their angry responses are probably as interesting as meme answers. For example, read the response by
The Gay Expat, who has links to other responses.

As a non-vlogger, I only have a vague idea what they’re on about, but I’m glad it was over before I ever got to actually passing on the meme.

These connected and aware people were “taken in”, if that’s the right way to put it, because of the respect they had for others, though not the originator. It could happen to anyone—I would have done it, too, for the same reason.

But it kind of makes me wonder what hope we “ordinary” people—newbies, uninitiated or merely innocent—have of avoiding some of these pitfalls. But, then, no one said the Internet would be easy.

At any rate, I thought I’d better mention all this since the link on Jeffrey’s site is still active, despite the strike-through. I didn’t want anyone thinking I was just ignoring the meme or refusing to play. I just never got to the starting blocks.

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