Memes: Have We Outgrown Them?

A close-up image of a dandelion with some tiny parts flying away, to go with my post with the question if we have outgrown memes.

I have been a meme holder for almost 10 years, having started Wicked Wednesday in June 2012, and always ran it with the greatest pleasure. However, in the past three months, I’m constantly wondering if we might have outgrown memes.

Or maybe it’s just me who have outgrown them.

Let me explain and see if I can work towards an answer.

Fluctuating and dwindling numbers

Wicked Wednesday was born after Wank Wednesday and Wanton Wednesday both stopped within a week from each other. I enjoy writing for those prompts so much, that their stopping felt as a lost. That was when I jumped in with Wicked Wednesday, and the rest was history, as they say.

The meme did well from the beginning, averaging 18 links for the first 31 weeks, which all fell in 2012. In fact, the first time the lowest number of posts were linked (12) was for prompt 131. The highest number of posts ever linked was 78.

The highest number of participants in one year was 138 (2019). In 2021, that number was 69, which now is down to 40. In 2020 and 2021, the average number of posts links was 22. Up to now for this year, it’s 17. Not bad, but definitely a downward trend.

For some, Wicked Wednesday once was a weekly stop, but not anymore.

Part of it is because ‘the thing’ happened.

One pond became two

Back when I started blogging in 2010, it took a while to discover the sex blogging community, but by 2012, I viewed myself as a member, and so did others.

The sex blogging community is not a large one, which means at its core you interact with the same people. New ones appear, are welcomed, and only a small percentage of those still blog after six months.

Like Master T likes to say: it’s like constantly fishing in the same pond.

Then the pond split into two.

‘The thing’ happened in April 2020, just a month into the first lockdown. I believe our freedom being take away from us made everyone go a bit crazy.

With the community splitting in two, some memes ended up in one pond, others in the other.

Paying the price or outgrowing and moving on?

Are we all — in both ponds (yes, I checked the numbers) — still paying the price of ‘the thing’? Or have we collectively outgrown memes and moved on to other pastures?

Memes have been around for over 12 years, and since nothing in life stays the same, maybe memes also have run their course.

Many of us have changed direction after April 2020. Some stopped blogging, some rebranded their blogs (I now call mine a lifestyle blog, which it actually already was even before ‘the thing’), others moved on to platforms like Medium, even when still maintaining their blogs.

With changing direction, the focus on memes have dwindled. I noticed this in 2021, which is why I adjusted the rules for Wicked Wednesday, allowing people to link two posts from the same blog, or even three — two by themselves and one guest blog. Had I not done that, the average number of links would’ve been lower in 2021.

My opinion is that the dwindling interest in memes is a combination of moving on and outgrowing it, and would’ve happened even without ‘the thing’.

Or, maybe it’s just me?

I started on Medium in February 2021, and in the past year have built my profile and presence there and am thoroughly enjoying the journey. This is something I will continue alongside my blog.

There’s an overlap between my blog and Medium. Many of my blog posts make it to Medium, in an edited version. At the same time, I am writing new content for Medium, and those sometimes find their way back to my blog too.

I enjoy this cross-pollination and pour much of my energy into that.

I am currently also on a journey of rediscovering my authentic self, with the help of a life coach. I want to leave people-pleasing me behind me. Part of this process is looking at things that give me energy, and those draining my energy.

I have many irons in the fire: caring for Master T, running our household, working 4 days a week, maintaining my blog, writing on Medium, running memes (Wicked Wednesday & The Menopause Diaries) and bullet journaling. Those are all besides finding time for myself.

For months now, I feel like I am running after the facts. I have complained many times to several people that I just don’t seem to get back in the rhythm anymore. I didn’t miss a beat when ‘the thing’ happened, but since the second half of 2021, I’ve lost it.

Decisions to be made

For weeks now, I have pushed all the above around in my head.

I have decisions to make.

Have others outgrown memes? Have I outgrown my meme? What gives me the energy, both online and offline? What do I want to do?

I’m currently on a 3-week break from work, and in these three weeks a lot is going to happen. I’ve made the concession not to move, but if I have to stay where I am, I want to change the house into what I want it to be. There’s a list of changes that will happen in these three weeks.

Let’s just say, after living here for almost eighteen years, I am finally taking ownership of the house. Making it my house. (That’s a story for a different time.)

And while working on those changes, I will think of memes and blogs and energy and what I want; how I want to move forward.

Decisions have to be made.

Maybe I already made some decisions, but for now, I want to know: do you think we have outgrown memes?

© Rebel’s Notes
Image by 0fjd125gk87 from Pixabay

Wicked Wednesday

28 thoughts on “Memes: Have We Outgrown Them?

  1. Yo quiero agradecer enormemente su trabajo, con éste meme, y en general con toda su labor en la comunidad bloguera del norte, porque son realmente oportunidades estupendas para expresar los propios caminos, sin más trabas que los límites que uno quiera superar.
    Y en mi caso en particular, solo puedo estar más que agradecido a las inmensas oportunidades que me ha brindado siempre que he querido compartir algo con la comunidad.
    Agradecido y orgulloso de formar parte, aunque sea en la distancia.
    Sigo por aquí, y aunque ‘salí un poco del armario’, aún me queda mucho camino por recorrer, o eso espero.
    Gracias, y seguro que cualquier decisión que tome, será la mejor para usted, en este momento de su vida.

    I want to thank you enormously for your work, with this meme, and in general with all your work in the northern blogging community, because they are really great opportunities to express your own paths, with no more obstacles than the limits that you want to overcome.
    And in my particular case, I can only be more than grateful for the immense opportunities that it has given me whenever I have wanted to share something with the community.
    Grateful and proud to be part, even if it’s in the distance.
    I’m still here, and although I’ve ‘come out a little bit’, I still have a long way to go, or so I hope.
    Thank you, and I am sure that any decision you make will be the best for you at this time in your life.

  2. I think all things in life … not just in our “on-line” personas … wane and lose that initial excitement and thrill of ones initial discoveries and indulgences. And I know personally that life seems to get busier, and definitely not easier, the more ones horizons broaden and those indulgences lead us on different journies, adventures and experiences. AND responsibilities!!!
    As everyone has said, I would be sad not to be able to check-in and scroll through your Wicked Wednesdays. Even though I know that I myself do not participate or comment as much as I used to.
    But … as has also been said … your own quality of life and what motivates and what gives you satisfaction and enjoyment is the most important thing of all.
    I will follow and read your writings wherever, and whenever, I can.

    Xxx – K

    1. Thank you for your comment, K. If I decide to stop with WW, I will still be writing on my blog. That’s one thing I won’t be ready to stop with for a very long time. But I need to re-assess my priorities, because of how much our life has changed in the past two years… the thing, the pandemic, T’s stroke and cancer, my own mental health…
      Thank you for always being so supportive xox

  3. I hated stopping 4thoughts – it had been going longer b4 as f4tFriday and it seemed like it was my job to carry on with it – to not let KWookie down. So I put it to rest for a while. I still don’t know what to do about it.
    WW is the most popular meme in our blogging area and that is because u are such a wonderful person – a real person. Sometimes, we ‘fail ourselves’ by carrying on with something we have doubts about but are continuing so as not to let others down…
    Reading the comments above – a couple of people said even without “the thing” writing smut etc seemed irrelevant – to me it almost felt like a frivolous thing to do when the world was going through a disaster.
    Where I am concerned – I want to keep my blog going and medium and blogable (fiction marathon)- that is 3 balls… Maybe I need to learn to juggle better 😀
    What you do, should be for the greater good of your mental health and your life with your family. It is important to evolve and also to know what needs to stay or go from your life… I am confident you will make the right decision and Master T saying about fishing in the same pond made me smile – but of course u fish in a few ponds – anyhow I am rambling…
    <3 <3

    1. This sentence struck me right between the eyes: “Sometimes, we ‘fail ourselves’ by carrying on with something we have doubts about but are continuing so as not to let others down…”
      I am also right there with you re blog + Medium + Blogable… and re the greater good of my mental health.
      My decision is not yet made, but every thought left on this post of mine is valuable to me, and will help me make my decision. Thank you for your thoughts, May, and your love and friendship! xox

  4. I fervently wish that I was more knowledgeable. I don’t know what the “thing” is and so find it hard to understand some of the post and comments. I also don’t understand what a meme is, why it is of relevance, or how it works. While this might be beyond the scope of any reply, would someone kindly point me in the direction of self-education?

    1. A meme is simply a place where people link up their posts so others can read it. Some memes are about photos, others are about writing, and yet again others such as Wicked Wednesday, accepts all kinds of posts. All you have to do is to add the badge of the meme you are participating in at the bottom of your post, then add it to the linkup of the week. If you want to know more, these two posts on Blogable might help:

  5. I’m not completely unaware of the rift that happened, but neither do I involve myself in the formats/platforms where the toxicity seemed to stem. I can see, from my peripheral vantage, that what once was a small community has, for the most part, fractured into two even smaller ones. (With each shrinking even still.) As someone who had nothing to do with any of that, I can say my numbers are WAY down since February 2020, which – for me – has much to do with the pandemic. So many readers are also writers that when writers drop out it means they don’t read. So the “commenting —> new blog post ideas —> more interaction” snowball stopped rolling. Some of my regulars — not sex bloggers, just bloggers who I read and who read me — dropped out entirely. And many of my semi-regulars dwindled in their consistency and participation.

    I agree that it’s partly pandemic-related burn out and reprioritizing. I also think it’s a matter of loss of identity (how many of us “sex bloggers” stopped having sex around February 2020?) and fear of “mixing the muggle world” with the sex/y online pieces of ourselves. I don’t personally have an issue with discussing everyday life on my blog, but maybe that’s because I always have. Others don’t feel the same, so they don’t know what to write (or no longer want to read) as a result.

    My participation in memes was, in 2017, a deliberate effort on my part to support “the community” — it was also a way of challenging myself to write when I was struggling to want to. My self-assigned “homework” of linking up to specific memes (on a schedule I created for myself) helped get me over the not-sure-I-want-to-write-anymore hump. After I got over that hump, I admittedly reduced my participation levels. I’m in a different headspace now, and while I still occasionally check out the prompts in case one might match with a topic I’m already planning to write about, I rarely look to them for challenge/inspiration. Which… As a writer, it’s nice to not ‘need’ that. But as a meme host, I can see how my not-needing would impact your perception of my (or any participant’s) interest.

    I will say I appreciate the fact that inspiration is there if/when I need it.

    I will also say that I’ve found it frustrating when the memes/projects I *do* participate in close down for the reason of “not popular enough.” Especially when I have contributed in meaningful ways to those memes. (I find it particularly frustrating that health-related link-ups are so often aborted.)

    Whether any of that is helpful to you, I don’t know. But those are some of my perspectives.

    1. Hi Feve, I always love when you pour out your thoughts, as it makes me look at my own words from all directions. Yes, the pandemic definitely had and still has its influence on the blogging community too, and I’m sure it’s not only the sex blogging community that has shrunk. While I did mention numbers in my post, if I decide to stop with WW it’s not primarily because of the numbers, but because I have the feeling I might have outgrown it. And together with me, others. I also understand your frustration if memes close, but I guess people just move on. At the end of the day, the effort we put into something should at least be equal with the satisfaction we get from it (I hope this comes across the way I mean it). I really appreciate your words, and where my final decision is not made yet, will keep your thoughts in mind.

  6. I am sad to read this is how you are feeling but I can totally understand why. I have been through a similar thing myself and, although I hated to let things go, the memes I did really weren’t supported well either. For a time that didn’t matter to me as my doing it had never been about that, but then other parts of my life seemed to give more reward for the effort I put in, so my focus shifted. At the end of the day you need to do what feels right for you. You are juggling so much and what you do should be what brings you the most reward and joy. I don’t think that is about numbers but you will know it when you feel it. The split was ridiculous and it made blogging feel unfriendly and unsafe. I don’t blame lockdown for what happened but my eyes were truly opened to who many of the people I had been investing time into really were. You have been a great supporter of so many over the years and have more than done your bit. I hope having some time to think brings you to decisions that you are happy with and I have no doubt that you will make the most of whatever direction you choose from here on. Missy xx

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Missy. I know you have been through this too and understand now why you have made your decision. The point of thinking about this and thinking about stopping with WW indeed is to do what feels right for me; what IS right for me. Whatever decision I take, it won’t be taken lightly xox

  7. Hi, Marie.
    I know we don’t know one another, but in the small bit that we have interacted just recently when I was finally free to start doing memes (bad things happen in other parts of the blogging world, too) with you, I can see why WW has been such a success. While I would feel like I am missing out on getting to know you and other bloggers (the ones who are kind to you, that is, — I have no interested in any person being mean to you as others have shared above ) if you stopped WW, you need to number one just do what is best for you….and your loved ones. You deserve the most refreshed version of Marie and so do the things and people that are closest to your heart. Sometimes those things and people and circumstances change.

    I know you have included the stats here of the participation of the WW links from other bloggers, but from an outsider, I’d like you to look at the numbers of how many hits you’re getting as a possible indication of how things are going as well. They’re probably down, too, but I think it’s important to keep our lurkers in mind. There are tons of readers that we do not know about. I know several people that you don’t know who read your blog and do not write or participate in the comment section. Just something to keep in mind that might recharge your batteries a little to think of it from that point of view. Still, you need to take care of yourself and if your needs have changed or aren’t being met through WW and all that it did (does) for you, then move on. You might pick up a stray here and there or someone might come in at the tail end of the run of WW and strike up a friendship. Who knows? I’m sure you have lots of good things and healthy , loving people that are going to come your way because of the kind of person and writer you are.

    Hugs, Windy

    1. You have a very valid point about the hits WW gets, but sadly those have never been high, from the very beginning of the meme. However, I do have lurkers on Rebel’s Notes, and that’s one site that I will not stop with for many years to come. I really value your thoughts here, Windy. Those are all things I’m taking into account while working towards a decision. Thanks for your kind words xox

  8. WW has been my only consistent meme that we’ve participated in for the length of our blog. I love it and would hate to see it go.

    That said, the community has been a mess since ‘the thing’ happened as well as the pandemic. They were so closely tied that I have no idea which was the greater cause. It’s sad to see, but the community is always in flux.

    And the biggest thing? You have to do what brings you joy. Blogging is work, but it should be fun. I’ve considered stopping ours since we rarely get any participation in it. I totally understand where you are coming from.

    The bottom line is that you have to do what is best for you. If the time has come for WW to go, you know your friends will be behind you whatever you choose to do next. The most important part is taking care of yourself, Master T. and your family.

    1. I think you are right, Charmer, it wasn’t only the thing, but the pandemic had an impact too. I think the first lockdown made all of us go a bit crazy, and maybe the thing wouldn’t have happened without the lockdown. But we will never know, right?! Another thing you are right about is that blogging is work. I don’t want to stop blogging. I’m a writer and I will always write, but life is about more than just writing, such as you have also stated in your last sentence. Thank you for your kind words, and yes, I know my friends will always be with me 🙂 xox

  9. I have wondered this too. Keep hoping numbers will increase and some weeks I am pleasantly surprised. WW was my first meme, so I’d be sad to see it go, but the thing happened just as I came in and I can see how much it impacted us all.
    The kinkly event really made me start wondering about whether blogging (in this niche) was still a good idea. Then covid, and life and dwindling interest for myself as well. I still want to write. but writing smut isn’t always working for me now (perhaps because I am no longer making it?).

    Whatever you decide, I think you’re a wonderful human, a great friend and I feel very privileged to know you 🙂

    1. I think the pandemic and all the nastiness that went on changed us all, and of course, we are human beings and we tend to change and evolve as the years go on, even if we don’t want to. Thank you for being a friend, MrsK, and if I stop with WW, my blog will still be there, and of course Medium. I hope you won’t stop writing, though! Maybe time to dab your pen in some other genres than smut? 😉 xox

  10. Urgh – the thing. It damaged things, but so did the pandemic. And new platforms and ways to be a community came along. I love Wicked Wednesday, it’s a meme I try to stay true to and it helps me find new writers and bloggers but, as you say, they come and go.
    Hear hear to what BF said – it’s not your responsibility to try to hold the community together Marie – it’s like cupping water in your hands, you will save some but much of it will go its own way. You do you my lovely – there may be better places to channel your energy than hosting a meme. That said, I do love this meme, it was part of me forming into a real blogger and a has always forged links.

    1. I also loved what BF has said, and love your analogy with water. Thank you for your words, Posy. I need to do me, finally need to me, because for too long (all my life actually), I have been doing what others expect of me, and ignored my own wants to the point I didn’t even know what they were. It’s time to change that. Thank you for always being so supportive xox

  11. I think the thing certainly impacted memes…as it impacted the central light and connection of the “community.” But…I think the pandemic did more to change things than anything. It changed what many saw as important. And many writers stopped writing. I’m even at a point where blogging at all is just not doing for me what it used to. I’m tired. And I’m simplifying…looking for joy in different places…that take less work. Art…spending time with friends and family…sleeping…gardening…photography…reading…being outdoors. I may write again. But at this point, I’m not too concerned. When I look at my why for writing, it’s always been about my desire to reflect and communicate and connect and challenge myself. I’m doing all of those things in other ways now. Memes are always useful to help connect people, though. The “community” may never be what it was. I used to really care about that. But I don’t anymore.

    1. The pandemic definitely also is to blame for all the changes of the past two years. I like what you say about simplifying, which is something I want to do too. I have so many irons in the fire, and I need to take a couple out, so I can take a Sunday off and just lie around reading a book, instead of thinking about all the online stuff I *have* to do. And yes, I am the only one pushing myself…

  12. Wicked Wednesday is a meme I love to be part of though my own participation is down considerably. The thing was rubbish, and as a swimmer in both ponds I’ve struggled to maintain my mojo for linking up, for a number of reasons.

    Memes are hard work (even when you’re a rubbish host like me) and your life has evolved, gotten so much busier. Whatever your decision around WW know that your friends (or at least this one) will still be here. While you have been one of the biggest supporters for me and my site (and I know others too) the community and its growth is not your responsibility. I hope you manage to switch focus back to yourself and what you need, always here if you would like a chat. N xx

    1. I think as with everything people move on. And there are only so many ways to describe the act. It’s the realisation it’s just not important, but actual living is important, the pandemic encouraged so many other interests. Its been a long long time since I read any story or looked at any picture that has aroused me. You don’t have to continue with memes just because you might feel you are a failure if you stop. The fallout was extremely harsh on you, I still can’t fathom the hatred towards you, from people who were friends. What ultimately did it achieve, looking back now was it worth it. You are a brilliant person who has given so much, perhaps before you burn out perhaps you shoukd step back and enjoy life x

      1. The failure and burnout parts are something I have been wondering about for months, and I am seriously looking into all my activities, and what gives me energy. Truly gives me energy. It’s a journey, and the answers are slowly coming to me.
        Rebecca, thank you so much for your comment, it means a lot xox

    2. I never intended for anyone to feel guilty because their participation is down, for whatever reason. I just needed to put my thoughts out there, to get them out of my head and help me get to a proper decision. Thank you deeply N, for saying the community and its growth is not my responsibility. Those are words I haven’t yet formed in my head, and I needed to read it. I am on a journey of discovering the true me under all the layers of life’s hardships, and to understand what I really want. Like you said, memes are hard work, and I need to know whether WW fits in my life when I switch the focus back to myself. Thank you once more for your words. They mean a lot xox

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