Memes taking over social media

From Facebook to Twitter, University memes are spreading quickly.

by Branden Largent


The first University of Minnesota meme on Facebook was posted at 10:52 a.m., Tuesday.

More than 24 hours and 5,000 Facebook âÄúlikesâÄù later, the University Memes page has dominated studentsâÄô news feeds.

The page was created in response to the University of Wisconsin-Madison page. Other campuses, like the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, the University of North Dakota and the University of Minnesota-Duluth campus soon followed.

The original creator of the page remains largely unknown, but University student Colter Heirigs  transferred the page to Twitter.

Heirigs also plans to run a website by Thursday morning specifically for University memes to organize them by subject and original meme reference.

 âÄúAt least a tenth of the University student population have at least seen one of these memes,âÄù Heirigs said.

University senior Ross Gebelein  was among the thousands of students who discovered the page and created memes last night.

Many of GebeleinâÄôs memes have received nearly 100 âÄúlikesâÄù and âÄúsharesâÄù on Facebook.

 âÄúEverybody can relate to it personally,âÄù Gebelein said about the popularity of the page among University students.

School of Journalism and Mass Communication assistant professor Seth Lewis  said social media sites like Facebook have allowed people to create, alter and share messages like memes faster each year.

 âÄúInternet memes have been around ever since weâÄôve had the Internet. ItâÄôs just that social media has changed the speed and the reach and the process to which people can participate in them,âÄù Lewis said.

A lot of students might not always voice their issues, concerns or ideas for situations that happen around campus, but memes are a way for these ideas to be displayed, Lewis said.

âÄúItâÄôs like one big inside joke,âÄù he said.

Lewis added that the expansion of memes also shows how students are becoming more comfortable creating media that reflects their personal identities and opinions.

University student Alex Elert, another meme creator, said some memes on the site with racial and cultural implications have offended students. One referred to Riverside Plaza  as the âÄúcrack stacksâÄù and referenced the number of Asian students on campus.

Heirigs said memes with âÄúparticularly bothersomeâÄù content will not be transferred to the Twitter account and the website.

Although the siteâÄôs popularity is undeniable, Heirigs said the hype will likely die down in the coming weeks.

âÄúI think right now itâÄôs an opportunity for students to be really connected.âÄù