Blog Post

Social Media Memes: The Benefits of Participation

Last week, I was somewhat bullied into playing the celebrity doppelganger game that’s making the rounds at Facebook right now. Actually, my friend merely made a suggestion about who I look like and encouraged me to change my profile photo, which is the whole point of the game. You post a picture of a famous lookalike as your own profile shot.

It’s silly, and kind of stupid, but it’s fun and it brightens up the Facebook News Feed. And it actually gets people interacting on Facebook, which it seems to me was once the whole point of the site in to begin with, although I can’t be certain because that’s a time clouded by the impenetrable fog of so many Farmville updates that my brain has been severely damaged.

And since these kinds of memes put the “social” back in “social media,” I find them quite useful from a web working perspective, too. They help you connect on a human level with people you might not otherwise have communicated much with.

Case in point, with many people who add me to Facebook after finding me through professional channels (i.e. this and other blogs I write for), there is little to no follow-up communication after that initial virtual handshake. Regardless of what we claim this says about our proficiency as social networkers, it does not constitute a relationship by any stretch of the imagination.

Thanks to the doppelganger game, and others like it, I’ve actually begun to have meaningful, non-business related interaction with a few of these folks. Even if the initial back-and-forth is quite innocuous, it’s still a seed that can lead to great things growing. Please note, I’m talking about impromptu memes and interaction here, not the use of Facebook apps like Farmville. If Facebook cut off application support tomorrow, I doubt I’d notice, except for the fact that I’d have to click the “Hide” button much less frequently in my News Feed.

The other benefit of participating in the impromptu online social network games that crop up constantly is that they’re just plain fun. You know as well as I do that you’re already spending lots of time procrastinating on Facebook anyway, so why not procrastinate in a way that encourages community building?

Have you developed any meaningful connections via innocuous social games like this?

4 Responses to “Social Media Memes: The Benefits of Participation”

  1. I don’t play games on Facebook (Farmville, for example) and I don’t participate in the memes. I know it helps create connection, but I’m also concerned about the return on my time invested, so I make connections with Facebook friends by writing interesting posts and commenting on their posts.

  2. One of the biggest “complaints” I hear about using Facebook for social networking is the fear that it will make someone seem unprofessional. (Which of course it can). But I like how you frame the conversation a bit differently – that social sites can make us more “real” too.

  3. Diane McCarthy

    I totally agree!!

    The new website design is better than the past since you don’t have to interact with the aps to get them to go away!!! But I was almost ready to abandon the whole concept for a while because it was just too juvenile and annoying to keep my attention.