I think that the ideal meme researcher is memetically literate as well as being a good academic researcher. I’m working hard to be both, but it’s pretty challenging.
One of the best ways to achieve the former is to participate in a memeculture, such as by making a memepage. I would go as far as saying that it’s a key research tool in meme studies.
Do you run a memepage?
- No/It’s a secret
- I run lots of memepages
- I make/post memes but not through a memepage
I run @thenostomodernreview on Instagram. Give it a follow It’s not completely a meme page, but borrows from the visual language and memetic styles of Theorygram, such as the use of Akko (from Little Witch Academia) edits and obscure philosophy shoved into popular meme templates.
I’ve run a few different pages through the years, with different themes. Some have exploded (70k+ likes), while others have stayed well underwater (low hundreds). My most successful purely-meme page was a very cathartic one that was based on one central “meme” that could be put in many situations and edited in a million which ways. I haven’t “really” run any pages for some time, though.
I’ve ran a lot of pages in the past but I transitioned to community management on Facebook meme groups
I have not, and I would even say it’s not necessary for memetic literacy. Neither do I think creating memes is necessary to study them(though studying aspects like structure or reach would definitely benefit from participating from a creative angle).
In principle, it’s not necessary to make a meme to study them, just like you can be a great art critic without making art. I can think of many examples like this, so I agree that it’s not necessary.
But I think it’s invaluable; the experience of actually using a tool or a platform and actually participating in a culture provides unique knowledge that can’t be readily gained from watching from the outside (or watching others watching from the outside, as is the case with reading others’ research). Not to mention the fact that academic researchers usually have terrible and outdated taste in memes already, which makes them out of touch with actual memecultures from the start. I think this should be supplemented by participatory research, or better yet, memers becoming researchers.
For example, memepage admins rarely describe how it feels to make and post memes. Yet, many memers develop an intuition for when a meme is doing well, which they rely on to guide their practice. Some have told me that they can know within the first few seconds of posting to Facebook whether the post has bombed or not (e.g. what kinds and how many reacts it gets, coupled with other factors like how controversial or generic the meme is).
The memepage admin’s view of the audience is also different from the audience’s view of themselves, since the audience typically does not track closely what kinds of people (say) tend to congregate in the comments, or even across platforms. Part of that is because with memes, the original author of the work is often known only to themselves. But I think it also applies to digital content and artworks generally.
I make memes for my lectures - they end up being pretty hyper specific to the content that I’m teaching on any given day. I wouldn’t think they’d be all that successful mass marketed through a public page, but they usually do decently with my students.
I think that the success of a meme isn’t just in its generated likes or reacts or whatever, it’s in what gets communicated. Likes and reacts are a helpful tool for measuring communication of a meme’s content, but so is a student picking up the content of a lesson. Maybe there’s a good case for introducing memers to teaching through memes/content.
I run the meme group Maladaptive Daymemeing and make a lot of my own original content usually in cutesy pastel glitter aesthetics for serious topics, and lowtech/slapdash when I want to try being funny. In an effort to expand my stuff away from Facebook I made the website esoteric.garden where I host my more intentional works.
I’m in a really niche space like that too within the ESL teaching community in Japan. A lot of the most hilarious memes we swap between each other are completely lost outside of that hyper-specific context.
I recently started one, but it’s mostly to find people to banter with regarding philosophy-related stuff. I don’t do it for the cloud yo
Back in 2016 I used to run a pretty standard Star Wars-related meme page where I shared some OC memes, but I kinda lost interest pretty fast and haven’t really ran any other meme page since; I’ve done a few memes that I’ve shared on my usual socials but that’s about it.
I co-ran a meme page back in 2016-2017 that used to be popular in Portugal, but after a disagreement with the other admin, he ended up removing me as an admin and deleting it. It peaked at like 10k+ likes which we found out to be a huge victory.
After some time away from actively running pages but consistently making memes, in early 2021 I created @construsaocivil on instagram, seeking to make something new and break the standard meme formats and trends in Portugal, by empolying a process which I called “hyperconstructivism”, to create hectic and disjointed montages, that are both pregnant with meaning and devoid of it at the same time, and now I’m focusing more and more on humor theory and it’s connection to memes.
Were you part of the -core scene?
Check out this massive spreadsheet (featuring a list of 1116 memepages) of the different Star Wars themed memepages that focus on a single theme from the franchise, usually a character.
oh my god, I had no idea that spreadsheet existed! I’ll have to take a closer look at that list, but using Ctrl+F my page isn’t listed there (I changed its name and purpose a loooong time ago anyway). Yeah, I was part of the -core scene haha, that was shortly after I started using Facebook for meme-related purposes
does running a group count? I have several groups where I am the main creator. because I find that memepage is really a hassle to get reach and I may not post on off-season, resulting in dying page. groups can produce new stuffs from members other than me
my pages died already lmao
I think I’ve been admin for like 4 meme pages, maybe more. None of them went beyond 10 likes, obviously. One of them was my own, two of them were pages I was named admin on without really being motivated to work on it at all, and another one was a French one made collaboratively, with fake quotes of famous internet persons.
The issue is that beginning meme pages is not very rewarding, I feel like you don’t get much likes whether you work hard for it or not. It might be a fake impression, but it doesn’t necessarily incite you to grind for it since you might feel like you’re forcing your creativity.
Making memes for small communities such as university class or a discord server feels both safer, more rewarding, and “useful” at a smaller scale since it contributes to their life
Memecultures have definitely moved onto focus on communities of memers (e.g. private chat servers; rings of Instagram memepages with admins in one chat; podcasters having each other on for special episodes).
Facebook memepages had an unusual alternative to both these silos and the traditional broadcasting model (where one content creator gets seen by a large audience) because it was so easy for them to reach new people in unexpected ways, but that has since been patched away.
Yeah, running a group counts for sure.
Unfortunately, as I spoke to @ViscousLinguini before, even groups are dying out in terms of reach. In large groups, it's not unusual for people to randomly get zero reach for their posts. Facebook starts treating them like posts that came from a massive page that has to appeal to a mass audience within the group.
This phenomenon started to become noticeable even in 2016 when a particular tv show interest meme group started to get really big. I still came up with ways to draw focus on the admin team who were 99% of the trendsetting core of the community. For example turning off member posting for a period of time and either forcing a meme or a meme theme via admin/mod posts for the following 12 hrs or even making memes referencing the member posting shutdown. This would of course send members into a frenzy and when you turned the tap back on the content would flow in so many directions inspired by the shutdown and the new forced memes. The issue i see these days is there isn't really those communities to be a part of anymore. Communities that grow as a kind of rabid word of mouth where its the new thing for friends to share etc. Facebook in my view has seen its day. And i think its a combination of the algorithm stunting group growth and reach movement, newer platforms appealing to the younger generations, and the big issue of facebook deleting groups of 50-400k due to violations
I do still run a memepage technically. Don't have the motivation for it anymore but i guess its somewhat hard in the post 2017 facebook ecosystem to stay focused on a meme page after having experienced the interconnected fame and communication of facebook groups. Memepage life seems lonely but i guess i also never really attained the success like TPMG etc. My page has 7k+ followers/likes