Specifically, students are racing to start meme-focused Facebook pages for their schools before someone else claims them. The pages are generally not affiliated with student media or other
recognized campus groups. Instead, they are the efforts of individual students or small groups of friends who have no ambition other than sharing a laugh and getting their peers' attention.
Memes, Y U So Addicting?!
Early last week, in a story headline that mimics a popular meme conceit, The Daily Illini asked, "Memes, Y U So Addicting?!"
Dozens of campus newspaper articles indicate student readers enjoy the ease with which they can scroll-and-scan others' memes and quickly create their own. They are also fond of the incredibly high levels of interaction the Facebook pages foster. As one of the founders of a Northeastern University memes page told The Huntington News, "[T]here have been people posting on it pretty much non-stop, like all night ... I was actually kind of afraid to leave my computer for five minutes. I came back and there were like 300 new likes."
Students especially like the sarcastic references about campus rivalries, bad cafeteria food, and crappy parking that only their schools' students, staff and alumni can fully appreciate. To that end, a University of Minnesota journalism professor calls the memes exercise "one big inside joke."
Yet, the college memes generated so far also touch on many rites of passage universal to undergraduate life, including crazy classes, registration woes, partying, drinking, road trips, residence hall habits (Example: "I don't always use the dorm bathrooms, but when I do, I leave the seat down and piss all over it."), and the ginormous cost of higher education (one repeatedly shared example below).
In addition, they occasionally riff on more serious issues and sacred campus cows. As The Triangle at Drexel University confirmed about memes targeting the Philadelphia school, "128ot all of them are simple jokes. Many of them voice legitimate concerns of Drexel students ... One of the most popular image macros, with over 400 likes in just two days, features the image of the A.J. Drexel statue and the caption 'Congratulations on your acceptance -- to a construction zone.'"
Similarly, according to The Daily Universe, the Brigham Young University memes page "has exploded into an online forum of Mormon and BYU culture parodies, which are sure to entertain anyone familiar with the Mormon culture." For example, a recent meme humorously spun one of Christianity's most repeated, revered lessons. It presented an image of Jesus sitting before worshipers, saying simply, "So I was like, 'Bro, do you want someone to do that to you? Well, then don't do it to them.'"
The actual Golden Rule is of course phrased a bit more formally: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It applies directly to college memes. Students who mock others with a meme will be mocked with memes themselves. Students who screw up a meme will quickly see correction memes posted in response (Example: "You keep using that picture ... I don't think it memes what you think it memes."). And, in a full embrace of the self-aware era, there are also scores of memes commenting on students wasting their time reading or generating memes.
A Snowball Effect
Last week, a pair of University of Oregon freshmen launched a memes page dedicated to "images lampooning college life" at the Pac-12 school. It took off, within minutes, and has continued to spread, non-stop. On its first day in action, the page roped in roughly 2,500 likes.
On day two, University of Oregon Memes was on the front page of The Daily Emerald student newspaper. The start of the related story succinctly summarizes the phenomenon at-large, noting, "When University freshmen Jack Hunter and Darin Shelstad created a Facebook page late Wednesday night to share inside jokes, they never expected it would become so popular. But it did. Overnight. Literally."
Around the same time, a sophomore memes page creator at Boston University told The Daily Free Press, "Overnight, it just went into a snowball effect and became the success it is now. I haven't had time to get actual work done amidst all this fun." He said this less than 72 hours after creating the page. BU Memes currently sports roughly 6,500 likes.
Since the start of many pages last week, there has been a flash-bang surge in likes, comments, shares, and user-submitted entries. This wave of attention and feedback is either launching the Internet meme into the college media mainstream or setting it up as a "wonderful concept that will probably be bastardized into the ground in a few weeks," as The Hook Up stated.
The most vociferous meme enemies are those already annoyed at the image-and-text configurations increasingly crowding their Facebook feeds. "Last night, our Facebook timelines were flooded by a wave of memes," an NYU Local report at New York University noted. "Initially, these image macros were a welcome distraction from looming homework assignments: they were just funny enough to keep us reading, and they provided a comforting feeling of community and togetherness. That said, the [NYU memes page] quickly spiraled out of control. Students posted hundreds of memes, and only a select few were in the least bit funny."
Separate complainants in the "meme police" category accuse clueless students of distorting the meme's original higher-minded purpose -- in part, to be a serious carrier of significant cultural ideas -- to the point of mockery.
More lightheartedly, some readers are expressing faux-outrage at how addictive the memes are to scroll through, read, comment upon, and create. As a student wrote about UO Memes, "This page is going to kill my GPA."
Dan Reimold is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Tampa. He writes and presents frequently on the campus press and maintains the student journalism industry blog College Media Matters, affiliated with the Associated Collegiate Press.
The article was originally published by PBS MediaShift, covering the intersection of media and technology. Follow @PBSMediaShift for Twitter updates, or join us on Facebook.
Coursework Colloquium 2016 = a positive vision of collision!
See tweets, photos, and notable quotables from the day below …
The countdown to the Colloquium is now on – the full program has been published and hot tea, coffee, and refreshments will be on tap tomorrow from 9am in Arts Hall. (9am on a Saturday?! Yes, it’s worth waking up for!)
See the guest post from one of our student organisers, Angus Blackman, below, to find out exactly why you should jump out of bed and get to Old Arts bright and early tomorrow morning.
Angus Blackman is a Master of International Relations student in the Melbourne School of Government and works at the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Workplace Leadership.
Things I love about coming to Uni on a Saturday
It’s fair to say there are plenty of things I usually prefer to do on Saturday mornings rather than getting on the South Morang line and making my way towards Parkville. Whenever I’m forced to, it usually includes essay structures, word counts, and a distinct sense of dread. To be honest, I’d probably rather head in the opposite direction and actually go to South Morang.
But not this Saturday.
This Saturday the Faculty of Arts will host the second annual Graduate Coursework Colloquium. The day is an opportunity for graduate coursework students from all different disciplines to connect, showcase our work and share stories about what fascinates us. I went last year and here were my two favourite things about the day:
- You hear about the things that make others care enough to come to Uni on a Saturday
Think about it – the Colloquium program is full of people who volunteered to get out of bed and look fairly respectable in order to get there. Why? Malcolm Turnbull’s Chief of Staff isn’t going to be there looking for the most disruptive and agile new innovator amongst their ranks. No partner at PWC is going to be lurking around the canapes hoping to catch their attention. No, these people are here because they care what they’re talking about. For the speakers it’s a great chance to test ideas and to build on what they’ve done in the past. For you, it’s an unusual opportunity to have people open up about the stuff they really enjoy. What they have to talk about literally made them get out of bed on Saturday.
- You get to talk interesting people who do cool stuff you’ve never thought about
I’ve never had many chances to talk to art curators or linguists. Lots of people would say the same about my tribe – people into international relations (though, unless you like Putin memes and constant fretting over Donald Trump winning the US election, I wouldn’t jump in just yet). Way too often at Uni (and in life) we get caught up in our own little niche – we have friends who are interested in the same stuff we are and we don’t often leave our own bubble. The Colloquium brings together people from all sorts of disciplines and challenges you to step outside of your normal social circles. So instead of waiting quietly in line for coffee on the day, say hello to the person in front of you who did the talk on something you’d never thought about before – you might discover something interesting.
It’d be great to see lots of people there. Come for a chat, an awesome lunch, and to hear what other students have to say.
Bring on the weekend!
The Short Program for the 2016 Faculty of Arts Graduate Coursework Colloquium is now available! This means that you can check out the titles of all the amazing presentations on offer, and find out when and where everything will be happening.
Still to come over the following two weeks: details of our featured keynote speaker and the complete long program with abstracts for each presentation and information about each speaker. In the meantime, be sure to also check out our participant map to see how truly global our conference is.
Download the program here (updated Friday 8 April): 2016_Short_Program
And don’t forget to register!
The CC Team
Claire Frost is a Master of Marketing and Communication student in the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, and part of the 2016 Coursework Colloquium organising committee.
10 Things I’d like hear about at the Coursework Colloquium
The Coursework Colloquium is going to be an amazing opportunity to hear about experiences from other students within the walls of this academic institution. There are a few things I’m hoping to hear about or just be able to talk to other people about while I’m there…here’s my wish list!
- If you are struggling with the work load / having a major existential crisis and don’t understand how you ended up here / feel like your personal life is crumbling down around you but your assignment is due at 5pm – where can you go to talk about it within the university? (https://www.beyondblue.org.au)
- Have you been overseas? I haven’t, it sounds terrifying and exhilarating! What did you learn? How did you decide where? How can I do that?
- How much coffee is too much? I mean, seriously… will that large latte and berry muffin (or 2) actually help me survive that 3-hour lecture? (I have been found in the corner of Standing Room shovelling a cookie sandwich in my face before my soy latte was called and I proceeded to grab it mouth full and face covered with my shame – and crumbs-… it was so delicious though!)
- Along the same tangent … what are some good study snacks? Because that 3 hour lecture is dead quiet and my bag of Doritos is too loud.
- I have no social life, how can I do ‘fun things’… is that what the kids call it? (http://umsu.unimelb.edu.au/jump-in/clubs/)
- I have found that the work that I have done in class has motivated me to do further research in other fields that excite me, what sort of work have you done? Seriously, I did an essay about a zombie film (yes, I’m undertaking Masters) and it was really fun and interesting… have you done something like that? If you have, can you tell us about it? (http://blogs.unimelb.edu.au/arts-grad-coursework-colloquium/submit_an_eoi/ )
- What outside work and/ or volunteering have you done to help with your course? How did you find out about it?
- Where do you want to be in 5 years time? I dare you… tell me your dreams! There is nothing more inspiring then hearing someone talk about something they love and their plan to get there.
- Where’s your favourite watering hole? … and do they have minimum eftpos, because I literally only have enough money for that one beer till pay day (it’s always worth it though). Same goes for coffee, I demand no minimum eftpos!
- If my lecturer is saying things that I don’t understand, when is it appropriate to admit that I don’t understand? – On that note, what does Colloquium mean? I’m on the committee and it’s been too long a period for me to ask …
The deadline to submit an Expression of Interest is 11:59pm TODAY, Monday 29 February! So go ahead and tell us your idea: http://blogs.unimelb.edu.au/arts-grad-coursework-colloquium/submit_an_eoi/
See you there!
The 2016 Organising Committee came together to make a video all about the Colloquium. Check it out!
Marie-Luise Schega is an EMA student in the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, and part of the 2016 Coursework Colloquium Organising Committee.
FOMO – /ˈfəʊməʊ/ fear of missing out. I’ve got a severe case of it, especially when it comes to my graduate experience at Melbourne. Don’t get me wrong, my cohort has been the most entertaining community I could have wished for, and the discussions, giggles and friendships we’ve formed thus far make me swoon. (This very moment Nat King Cole’s “Unforgettable” came on… Even the universe knows how wonderful these guys and gals are).
What tends to happen when the hearts and minds of such a great group of people occupy your very being, however, is that other worlds around you cease to exist. What even is the School of Government? I’m just joking – International Policymaking in Practice taught by Estelle Parker through the SoG was a fantastic subject. Not only did I learn about Australia’s involvement in international affairs and almost got recruited by ASIO, I also got to mingle with Development Studies peeps. This term I’m excursioning even further, as my elective will take me all the way to the Faculty of Science – yes, I’m slightly terrified. But what would learning be all about if didn’t take you out of your comfort zone?
That’s exactly why I’m going to the Coursework Colloquium 2016 and why you should show up, too. It is THE student-led event of our faculty that reminds you of how to make most of your time here: Meet people with different interests and talents, have discussions that challenge you because you haven’t considered a particular standpoint before, or simply go because you really dig the free food at student events (I’m with you on that one).
Instead of complaining about the silos tertiary institutions sometimes succumb to, do something about it and talk about how you CREATE, RELATE, EXPERIENCE (I’m not yelling at you caps lock style, that’s actually the theme of this year’s colloquium). If you’re interested in presenting a winning paper you wrote, showcasing a piece of art you created, rave about your cohort, recall the ups and downs of a recent field trip, or have something else to share about your post-grad experience, submit a short description of your project by Feb 19th.
Give it a shot – there’s nothing to lose, only fame and fortune to gain! (Our currency comes in applause, approving nods and presentation after-glow).
Submit your idea here! http://blogs.unimelb.edu.au/arts-grad-coursework-colloquium/submit_an_eoi/ – Marie
Schedule these key 2016 dates into your calendar now. Find out when the deadline for Expressions of Interest falls, when general registration opens, when the program will be published, and when the big day is!
(Click “add to your calendar” below to go to the associated iCalendar file in our Dropbox; open the file and save it to your preferred scheduling platform. iCalendar files work with many different programs including Outlook, S Planner, and Google Calendar).
22 February – Deadline to Submit an Expression of Interest to participate in the 2016 Coursework Colloquium. Add to your calendar.
3 March – General registration opens for the Colloquium. This event is free! Add to your calendar.
24 March – The finalised program will be published on the blog. See who’s presenting and read summaries of planned events! Add to your calendar.
9 April – The 2016 Coursework Colloquium kicks off in Arts Hall, Old Arts, with coffee, tea, and treats 🙂 Add to your calendar.
At the 2015 Coursework Colloquium we heard about blockbuster exhibitions, connecting with other people on your course, writing an assessment for a disappointing internship, transgender and development in Indonesia – and much, much more. Read last year’s Short_Program, and click here to see some of last year’s presentations!
The Graduate Coursework Colloquium is designed to showcase the work and interests of graduate students in the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Melbourne School of Government.
The next Coursework Colloquium will happen on Saturday 9 April 2016.
This event brings students together from across the Faculty’s 18 graduate programs for a day of collaboration and inspiration. You’ll also get to hear from featured Alumni speakers during the keynote panel discussion.
The theme for the 2016 Colloquium is Create – Relate – Experience.
Visit our Expression of Interest page to find out more and get involved!