Resistance is futile… join the meme!


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My post today is in response to a concept I’m only beginning to understand… meme. Is meme noun, or is it verb…? I’m not certain. Does one ‘meme’ by oneself or with others, or is ‘meme’ a process the happens to you over time? Time to do a little research, I’m thinking.

A meme… is described by Wikipedia as follows;

The term Internet meme (pronounced /ˈmiːm/, rhyming with “cream”[1]) is used to describe a concept that spreads swiftly via the Internet.[2] The term is a reference to the concept of memes, although this concept refers to a much broader category of cultural information.

At its most basic, an Internet meme is simply the propagation of a digital file or hyperlink from one person to others using methods available through the Internet (for example, email, blogs, social networking sites, instant messaging, etc). The content often consists of a saying or joke[3], a rumor, an altered or original image, a complete website, a video clip or animation, or an offbeat news story, among many other possibilities. In simple terms, an Internet meme is an inside joke, that a large number of Internet users are in on.

The term Meme was coined by Richard Dawkins in his 1976 popular science bestseller, The Selfish Gene.[4]

The term may refer to the content that spreads from user to user, the idea behind the content, or the phenomenon of its spread. Internet memes have been seen as a form of art.[5]

So, the reason this new interest in meme is because of  The Pear Tree, an Okanagan based e-zine that I became aware of through a writerly friend, Jazz singer and blogger (so perhaps negotiating my way to The Pear Tree was also ‘meme’… as the definition states that meme is “propagation from one person to others”). My friend told me about The Pear Tree via Facebook, which is certainly a place that one can propagate information and ideas and even friends!

Still not entirely sure how to describe meme in my own words, so bear with me.

In any event, The Pear Tree is launching/initiating/posting/hosting/birthing a visual ‘meme’. Each Friday in September TPT is offering up a photographic prompt, and inviting bloggers to write on whatever is inspired by their pondering of that particular image.

Here is the first in the series of visual prompts posted by Lori-Anne Poirier at The Pear Tree. It’s a warm image, with immediate thoughts of craft, childhood, and simplicity. And yes, Suzan, I also thought of the cover of ‘Bird by Bird‘ by Anne Lamott!!!

My response to this beautiful photograph is to post several poems I’ve written about birds. They aren’t new, so I hope that doesn’t disqualify me from the meme!

Then I will wait here by my keyboard to see how meme truly works. I assume that at it’s most basic I will send traffic through links to The Pear Tree Ezine, that The Pear Tree will send traffic to me. I’m interested to see how viral this thing called meme really is… a tad excited, actually.

So, thanks Lori-Anne for this opportunity to share my writing, and for inspiring me to learn something new about the internet.

Without further adieu, here are my poems;

Songbird

Sun breaks through mid morning.
Your quick movement catches my eye,
single songbird perched on Joe’s truck.
You sing, tail bobbing, happy for the day,
Then suddenly swooping down, you
throw yourself at the mirror.
Again and again you flutter there pecking at the glass,
frantic in your attempt
to make some narciscisstic connection,
or to pass into what looks better
behind the looking glass.
I stand barefoot in the doorway watching,
dog lounging at my feet,
sun warming my toes.

Joe
was that you this morning,
sharing peace before you passed into something wonderful?
Did you sing?
Are you singing now?
Did you flutter, caught between
the present and the reflection of glory just beyond the glass,
and then, in the blink of an eye

……fly away?

Gulls 2

Gulls are drifting inland on updrafts from the sea.
Wantonly weightless they float overhead,
calling boldly to me of flight and freedom.

Creature of the middle earth I stand in salt spray, toes
sink in wet sand, thoughts sink deeper.
I lift my face skyward, consider their foreign tongue.

Then, rusty hinges on the screen door and
you call me from the cottage.
Warm voice carried on the wind, you beckon me.

I turn…
…returning to the welcome parameters of our love and life

Pelicans

Troubadours
Airborne units fly in formation
Low
Heavy
Skimming the space between sea
And sky
Mammoth
Undeniable, like
Heat-seeking missiles
Transcending the deep
And drawing up fish.

Roadside

Blackbird, blackbird, blackbird, blackbird,
Blackbird on a telegraph wire.
Jostling, bobbing head hellos,
sanguine communicados.

Hawk

Treetop sojourner —
feather’s ruffled against the early morning chill.

Expectant sentinel
over earthly offerings that scurry in frosted stubble.

I wait

and watch

as hunger takes flight.

Deadly beauty circles heavy over me and
life ends…
within a sweep of un-gleaned grain.

Moving on… I guess…


If you, like millions of people, know anything about social networks, then you probably know ‘Ning’. Ning is a platform that in their own words;

“is the leading online platform for the world’s organizers, activists and influencers to create their own social network. Design a custom social experience in under 30 seconds giving you the power to mobilize, organize and inspire.”

Quite a wonderful quote… for someone who was seeking the mobilizing, organizing and inspiring. Me. Which is why I chose to use Ning to enable me to start a writer’s community for women, almost a year and a half ago. This followed my attempt to start a writer’s group in the real world, the inaugural meeting at which I was the only attendee. So, I thought, perhaps my draw ought to be wider… and I went world wide with the web and launched… Pink Ink Workshop! Ning made lots of sense to me, allowed me to design a great site with some excellent applications to add exactly what my members might need. Primarily it was about writing women connecting… and we did.

Pink Ink Workshop drew women writers from past connections I had and the ripple effect of my friends telling their friends and so on and so on (just like the Breck Shampoo Commercial circa 1970’s), and resulted in a small but committed group of writers from Canada, UK, Australia and the US. There were a handful of very active members… and I enjoyed the ability we had to inform and encourage one another, critique each others work, and connect in a world that can be quite isolating to writer types.

All this is coming to an abrupt end… and until today I’ve been OK with that. Just as I was OK when I married my husband and was discommunicated from my church… I knew it was coming, therefore I accepted it. And I recognize that it’s not all about me and my needs and my choices… there are greater powers at work. And I know that as one door closes a window opens and so on.

I received a notification a couple of months ago announcing that ‘Ning’ is no longer going to support their non-paying communities, I thought, Oh well, I guess that’s it then. I knew I couldn’t afford to carry the costs of paying to continue Pink Ink, and I also knew that I couldn’t expect the membership to do that either. So, I took the punch and decided that it was probably time for me to move on and do something else… recognize that Pink Ink Workshop has been a wonderful experience, and that it is over. (yes, I could have moved to another provider, and put more blood, sweat and tears into designing another network… like some of my virtual acquaintances have chosen to do. But, I’m tired… and I’m not really willing to do that… AGAIN!!!) I’m OK it, really I am, I thought.

Until today.  I was just cruising around Pink Ink Workshop, and looking at the photos of all the women, and reading and re-reading their words and their thoughts, and considering all that they’ve come to mean to one another… and to me. Long distance relationships really can become strong, virtual or real. These women have spoken words of life into me… have seen some struggles and some triumphs and have seen my writing take flight. They know me as a writer. This is what Pink Ink Workshop’s intended to do, and it did, until now;

A community of writing women, engaging, developing and refining our craft, and inspiring one other to use our voices with boldness.

And, once again, I find myself in a place where the community that I desire and enjoyed is being taken away… notwithstanding that we have all promised to keep in touch through emails and other social networks that we might join together. It just won’t be the same.

So, thanks Ning. Thanks a lot! I can’t imagine how money could be the only thing necessary to make your business viable… at least not just the money of small players like me. Facebook seems to be able to make a fortune without charging me anything. Facebook revenues reached $500 million in 2009, up from $300 million in 2008, according to Fortune editor David Kirkpatrick. And their revenues come from advertising… and that’s not a secret or earth shattering knowledge… is it? Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-does-facebook-make-money-2010-5#ixzz0tyvMCIZf

If I could a place to write a frustrated letter to, or someone who cared to hear about this (aside from you my poor reader friend), then I’d be all about giving ‘Ning’ a piece of my mind. After announcing their non-support, Ning wanted me (as a network creator) to fill out a feedback survey… but I’m not going to. I’m too ticked at them. And I’m just going to having to accept the inevitable, that on July 20th, community as Pink Ink Workshop knew it, will end.

To all of you PIW Inksters… keep on tagging the world with your words!!! NOTHING is lost. ALL is for a purpose.

Moving on, and I miss you already,

Lesley-Anne

‘Sol Deo Gloria