By: Asha Tompkins, Community Editor
While scrolling through social media, it’s possible one might stumble across a rather relatable meme account about missing the bus, or being disappointed in there not being a snow day on a perfectly sunny day. There are two students to thank for these outlets which can be found on Facebook and Instagram.
For privacy purposes, the creators wish to remain anonymous. In late September, Source A, a sophomore geography/anthropology major saw that a meme one of his friend’s created, which poked fun at USM administration, was circulating around Facebook. He decided to create a Facebook and Instagram page comprising of relatable memes for USM students. A few weeks after it’s creation, he approached Source B, a sophomore communications and media studies major to be an editor.
“I said that we should probably go on Instagram, since more people use that,” said Source B. “That turned into a big thing. So Source A runs the Facebook and I run the Instagram.”
The essential mission of the meme pages are to reach a big enough follower base of like-minded people that the university would find out about the page and take the constructive criticism portrayed in the memes.
“A lot of the time, as students we feel kind of alone in our struggles,” said Source B. “We get stressed and anxious about all the work that we have on us, it’s pressure. But the meme pages are nice, cool, safe spaces for people to find commonalities with each other and to understand that they’re not as alone in the things that they’re struggling with at school.”
Source B said that people are often excited about the memes, especially the students who submit their own.
“I get approached in-person so much, friends come up to me and they’re like ‘yeah we talked about this in class today, we were talking about the meme page,’ and I’ll be like ‘why?’ It’s funny, but then you think about it and you’re like ‘wow, so many people are seeing this,’” Source B said.
One person approached them to publicize and event that they were holding and the meme page agreed in hopes to get more students educated about and involved with student activities, rather than school sanctioned events. Source B said that it makes their page more personal.
“I personally think it makes it really genuine when it’s just us doing it for fun,” said Source B. “If we started making money and getting collabs, it would make it seem like it wasn’t as for the students as it was originally.”
If they were to make money from the page, they stated that they would rather fund a student scholarship.
“I don’t even think we could make enough money anyway,” said Source A. “Unless we’re using it for the meme page itself to promote our posts, or maybe to do an actual event. Otherwise, I never wanted to monetize the account.”
They strive to make the pages a relatable and fun space, hoping to even expand across platforms like Twitter and eventually to other universities. Source B pointed out that they even have followers from the University of San Francisco.
“I heard a lot of kids up in UMO (University of Maine at Orono) are hearing about our meme page, I kind of want to get another little crowd up there too,” Source A said.
While there are other meme accounts on social media dedicated to relatable student problems, the USMdrovemetomakeamemepage accounts are often geared toward the New England climate and include experiences with the weather, food, parking and student stereotypes that are noticed by students on a daily basis.
“One of the most popular memes was about commuter students walking into class late with their iced coffees,” said Source B. “There was also one about the Philippi fire alarm that was really popular.”
One might wonder how the creators have time to create and post these memes, as they either post everyday or every other day. But, they discovered that it’s not as time-consuming as one might think.
“I made memes during class,” said Source B. “On Facebook, you can schedule posts to make, you don’t even have to be on your phone to post it, or you can schedule it in the morning and they will post it at noon.”
Source B mentioned that if they have a really long day and are unable to post on the Instagram page, they make up for it the next day by posting more.
“I think people are understanding of it,” said Source B. “A lot of us are busy on the same day, so it’s not like they’re saying ‘where’s the meme?’ They’re more like ‘oh, we’re all busy today, I guess we’ll just check it tonight or something.”
Unlike when they first started, they now make 10 to 15 memes at a time on a free day, stop for a couple more days, then create more a few days afterwards.
“Usually we’ll do things ahead of time so we don’t have to worry about it throughout the week,” said Source B. “Unless someone sends us a meme idea, or a meme idea comes to us while we’re eating.”
Not only has the account gained over 700 followers on Instagram, but they have been approached in person by student followers and even Sodexo employees commending them on their work.
“When I first made the meme page, I followed all of my friends on Facebook who I knew went to USM, it’s a really good way to hook followers in there and I got them to share those posts so other people see them,” Source A said.
According to Source B, students often feel forgotten beneath things like overcapacity, there are many things that the university changes that don’t seem to benefit undergrads.
“Because of the whole ‘you’re in college’ thing where ‘your voice doesn’t matter, it’s really difficult for us,” said Source B. “If students want to have a voice on social media about USM, or their views on things, then by having the meme page we’ve showed them that they can do that. You can grow your media platform and give yourself a bigger voice too.”