Creating a Meme to Quote Yourself: Don’t Do It!


I saw something on LinkedIn this morning that I’ve been seeing a lot of lately: the self-quoting meme. In other words, the individual has posted a meme that they’ve created featuring their own quote, often accompanied by a slick, professional photo of themselves.

Every time I see this I have a visceral reaction. Without even thinking, I cringe.

This morning I asked myself: what’s that about? I examined my reaction and I’m sharing my thoughts here. I’d also like to know what you think.

It must be incredibly flattering to discover that someone was so inspired by something you said that they created a meme around it and circulated it on social media. What a compliment! But when you have to create your own self-quoting memes to compliment yourself, that rubs me the wrong way. Do you feel the need to create these memes because you don’t receive many genuine compliments in real life?

If you’re selling services that require us to work together one-on-one, your self-quoting memes will discourage me from hiring you. They suggest that you are not as down-to-earth as I need you to be. Your ego may prevent us from connecting as human beings.

I also wonder if I’d really be getting the best value for my money because your ego and your need to “celebrify” yourself may be distracting for you. In my experience, people who are truly passionate about something and really know their stuff are too obsessed with their area of expertise to be obsessed with themselves.

Don’t get me wrong — I believe self-promotion is necessary, but there’s something about self-quoting memes that cross a line. They make me feel distrustful.

I’m also finding that many of the quotes people use are not that pithy, clever or unique. So if this is the best they have to offer — if they really feel these lame nuggets of thought leadership are worth building memes around — that makes me question not only the quality of their offerings, but their instincts as well.

If you’re thinking about creating memes that incorporate your own quotes and image, I’m asking you to think twice. I have a negative reaction every time I see that and I can’t be the only one.

If you have a marketing consultant urging you to take this route but your gut is telling you This feel icky, listen to that. Don’t be afraid to think for yourself.

I’m seeing self-quoting memes in my LinkedIn feed almost every day now. If I am, you probably are too. So I’m curious: how do you feel when you see one?

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