UI Memed — Page anonymity bridges gaps, brings students together
Internet memes — funny photos with witty punch lines — have become a popular source for quick entertainment in the digital world. Memes now infiltrate Facebook feeds and Pinterest boards, and it’d be hard to find a topic that hasn’t been “memed.”
The University of Idaho Memes Facebook page was started April 1 and has amassed nearly 3,000 likes since. The page was started by two UI students who wish to remain anonymous.
“The original admin tried to search for a memes page for the university and found none. Boise State had a memes page, and so did various other universities. Seeing as there was none, they decided to create one,” the page administrators said.
The administrators, a UI junior and senior, said by remaining anonymous they hope to create the feeling that the page belongs to the students.
“There are many divisions on campus and we do not want to put a label on the page, we want everyone to feel comfortable sending us pictures and commenting. We see the page as an outlet for students to express likes, dislikes and concerns about the school and a place where they can find commonalties among the student body,” the administrators said.
The administrators said they don’t tell people they run the page, and maintaining anonymity allows the page to unite the entire student body.
The administrators said they would love to see the page continue for as long as possible. “We would love for it to be the most popular memes page for a university. We want to expose and poke-fun of the stereotypes on campus. That is what a memes page is. We will continue this as long as we can. If we need to, we might just pass it on to the next generation,” the administrators said.
Jami Lea Riener, UI senior, has submitted several memes to the page that she didn’t make but felt related to the college lifestyle. She said the page is a source of Vandal pride.
“I think it offers a way to show school pride as weird as that sounds,” Riener said. “We may not have the best football team or the biggest university in the state, but I think that the page is a way to show people what makes the University of Idaho special.”
Riener said the memes provide something all students can relate to.
“It makes them feel like the place they go to college is special in its own way. Even if its making fun of certain aspects of the university it still kind of offers a type of unity,” she said.
While many of the memes are generated by the administrators, they said nearly 80 percent of the posted memes are student submissions.
“We have decided to allow submissions via Facebook message rather than users to directly post to the page. We found that it would have a higher reach and unify the school,” the administrators said. “If students wish to submit memes anonymously, they can most certainly do that.”
The administrators said they post all memes that are submitted, regardless of content, but some memes do receive priority if the content is relevant to an event.
“If there is a meme for Dad’s Weekend, or a particular event on campus we will post that meme during that time — even if it’s submitted the same day. It is obvious that these would take precedence over a meme that had to do with grades or a teacher.”
The philosophy of “post all” has led to angry page viewers in some cases, and recently led the page administrators to publicly clarify their approach to offensive content.
“There was a lot of negative feedback for a post — which over 470 people liked — so we decided to address the fact that some of our posts are offensive,” the administrators said. “Offensive content is what makes a meme a meme. They point out stereotypes and typically humor. This sometimes offends people. But we can’t try and please everyone, it won’t work.”
Many of the comments from offended viewers come from Boise State fans who see the page and the memes poking fun at BSU.
“Our most popular meme to date was the finger painting meme about BSU. It is an original meme made by an admin,” the administrators said.
The meme has received 795 likes and more than 250 shares since it was first posted on Sept. 3.
“Boise State memes are great,” the administrators said. “We encourage the community to send more of them. And as with any meme, the group they are making fun of always get upset. We do think that they add to the rivalry. And for the upset BSU fans, grow up.”
Kaitlyn Krasselt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org