Meme Madness

New FSU Meme page goes viral overnight

by Published: Feb 13, 2012

On Monday, February 6, Matt (who’s last name was asked to be kept anony­mous) launched the Ferris State Memes page. After shar­ing a few of the ini­tial memes, things got rolling, and fast.

With more than 1000 likes and 300 sub­mis­sions overnight, Matt had struck inter­net gold, get­ting the idea from other recent uni­ver­sity meme pages. The page now has over 3,000 likes. One big dif­fer­ence that have stu­dents report­ing mixed feel­ings is the page mod­er­a­tion. While for other schools, upload is pub­lic, Ferris keeps the wall closed to fil­ter out any inap­pro­pri­ate, or—quite frankly—not funny con­tent, as Matt and another mod­er­a­tor receive sub­mis­sions and review them for posting.

“After look­ing at other pages, they have one meme posted every few sec­onds. Most are dupli­cates of pre­vi­ous posts, irrel­e­vant to the University, or extremely offen­sive. We didn’t want pro­fan­ity in the memes, or any­thing directly offen­sive to an indi­vid­ual on cam­pus. It doesn’t hurt to have a pol­icy that’s qual­ity is greater than quan­tity!” Matt said.

For those who are behind the times and still scratch­ing their heads about what a meme even is, Matt gives a help­ful explanation.

“Personally, I define a meme as a well-known image (or char­ac­ter) com­bined with a cap­tion that is funny and rel­e­vant. They’re funny because they describes a sit­u­a­tion that every­body expe­ri­ences, but is not socially accept­able, nor dis­cussed,” Matt said.

So how are uni­ver­sity memes different?

“For Ferris State, we apply the same prin­ci­ples, but theme them to our school. Most of the time, how­ever, we just use the stereo­typ­i­cal meme text super­im­posed on an image as a gen­eral cap­tion,” Matt said.

But there’s still the ques­tion. If the meme page is for Ferris and by Ferris, should stu­dents be able to freely post?

“It was my inten­tion to allow stu­dent sub­mis­sions from the get-go. I’m not that clever of a per­son so I def­i­nitely needed help,” Matt said. “I’m cur­rently debat­ing what the future of the page is. I’ve been get­ting a lot of back­lash for not open­ing the page to the pub­lic, but I feel strongly that with open sub­mis­sion to the page, the qual­ity of memes would dras­ti­cally drop; not to men­tion an insane amount of vul­gar con­tent posted.”

The site just recently con­ducted a poll to see if mod­er­a­tion should con­tinue, and an over­whelm­ing vote ruled yes.

Other stu­dents such as Ethan Wagner, sopho­more in com­puter net­works and sys­tems and com­puter infor­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy, feels the page should be more open to gen­eral sub­mis­sion, or at least a more sub­jec­tive vote on what’s funny and what’s not.

“The least amount of mod­er­a­tion pos­si­ble is always ideal, period. The mod­er­a­tor of the Ferris State Memes page is not so much mod­er­at­ing as they are per­son­ally judg­ing each sub­mis­sion,” Wagner said.

Matt stated how­ever, that when review­ing memes, he’s not the end all be all of what get’s posted what’s doesn’t.

“It’s a sub­jec­tive prac­tice, but I ask friends and my suit­e­m­ates if they under­stand the memes too. It’s not just a one-man show,” Matt said.

Though Wagner also believes that while many of the memes are relat­able, they aren’t par­tic­u­larly funny, or don’t fol­low the true essence of a meme. He thinks using one of the already avail­able mean tem­plates, such as the advice ani­mals, takes more than just slap­ping an uni­ver­sity truth on the page.

“Using an Advice Animal is like being a come­dian that does impres­sions, except you sound exactly like who you want to, always. Some peo­ple might think that this is enough to make an impres­sion. For exam­ple, if I could make the per­fect impres­sion of President Obama except all I could say was “poop,” some peo­ple might find it humor­ous that Obama would say “poop” at all,” said Wagner.

But he feels that this isn’t the high­est degree of humor.

“You can tell that the best come­di­ans not only sound like who they imper­son­ate, but talk as if they were that per­son as well. That’s what makes a good impres­sion. Some of the impres­sions that I see on the Ferris State Meme page are not accu­rate to the Advice Animals they are attempt­ing to por­tray,” Wagner said.

His solu­tion involves hav­ing the fans decide. He pro­posed using a sites such as red­dit, a “source for what’s new and pop­u­lar on the web” where “users like you pro­vide all of the con­tent and decide, through vot­ing, what’s good and what’s junk,” accord­ing to the site.

In the end, Matt feels the major­ity of what’s posted is a fun way to bring stu­dents together in the com­mon­al­ity of being a Ferris State Bulldog. Ian Smith, FSU grad­u­ate in Graphic Design, Advertising and Marketing, still vis­its the page, and though he feels the site should also have lit­tle to no mod­er­a­tion, still enjoys the content.

“I think it’s great that stu­dents are buzzing about the non­sense that goes on at Ferris. When I was a fresh­man five years ago, the cam­pus and lifestyle was almost com­pletely dif­fer­ent. Most of them have been pretty accu­rate. While I had a good expe­ri­ence at Ferris, there was a lot of red tape and busi­ness ethics that can be called into ques­tion; in some cases the stu­dents were viewed more as wads of cash than human beings. So yes, some of them are pretty funny in their scary accu­rate­ness,” Smith said of the memes.

“Most stu­dents aren’t going to make small talk with the stranger sit­ting next to them in Chem class by say­ing ‘Hey, have you ever got­ten lost in Rankin Center?’ With the FSU memes, we can share our expe­ri­ences with the stu­dent body, and let every­body know that they’re not alone!” Matt said.

To check out the Ferris State Memes page, visit http://​www​.face​book​.com/​F​e​r​r​i​s​S​t​a​t​e​M​e​mes . Or to see the FSU memes red­dit page, visit http://​www​.red​dit​.com/​r​/​F​S​U​m​e​mes .

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  • O. Snap

    Matt seems pretty on-the-ball about the sit­u­a­tion. Perhaps Wagner could mod­er­ate the “Ferris Hipsters” page?

    • http://www.facebook.com/NitrosDragon Ethan Wagner

      What do you mean by “on-the-ball”, and what do hip­sters have to do with it? 
      Anonymity won’t hide an inabil­ity to make a good argu­ment, but I look for­ward to your reply, regardless. 

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  • Anon

    In other words, Matt is an arro­gant per­son that thinks he knows what’s best for the school, its stu­dents, and the inter­net as a whole.

    • http://www.facebook.com/dbalsitis David Balsitis

      This sounds like a res­i­dent and not a for­mer or cur­rent stu­dent.  Anon obvi­ously doesn’t get it and decided to be “Anon”.

      • Esahc54

        I would have to agree with anon with this one.…
        Lets mod­er­ate reddit/4chan and see how long those sites last.…
        The FSU MEME page will die out within a month.

        • http://www.facebook.com/dbalsitis David Balsitis

          4chan?  Really?  4chan Current Users right now: 79,882.  Bad com­par­i­son.  Reddit is a copy­cat and will prob­a­bly die out within a year or so despite the triple-digit replies on 3 hour-old posts.

          Perhaps Ferris should start pay­ing more atten­tion to stu­dent voices instead of brush­ing aside the (valid) con­cerns of the peo­ple pay­ing as much as UofM to learn.

          I fail to find any arro­gance on Matt’s part in this arti­cle.  If any­thing he’s being hum­ble.  Don’t make me quote the arti­cle because I don’t want to ques­tion your abil­ity to read.

          Honestly, I’d rather read another Ferris meme than read about park­ing lot van­dals, MIP’s, and mar­i­juana usage.  

          • http://www.facebook.com/NitrosDragon Ethan Wagner

            I very much agree with most of what you said, here, though I’m not sure what Esahc54 was say­ing in the first place. Both 4chan and Reddit have their own fla­vor of mod­er­a­tors and they serve their pur­pose. 4chan and Reddit are also leagues dif­fer­ent than what any sin­gle Facebook page can offer.
            I’ve spo­ken with Matt (via email, etc) a few times and, for the most part, he’s pro­fes­sional. My dis­agree­ments with him aren’t a reflec­tion of his character.

            On a minor point, I don’t think Reddit is well-described as a copy­cat nor that it will die out within a year or so. I may just be biased, as I am a Redditor, but I think the site has a fan­tas­tic com­mu­nity model.

      • http://www.facebook.com/NitrosDragon Ethan Wagner

        This sounds like a res­i­dent and not a for­mer or cur­rent stu­dent.“
        What makes you say that?

        • http://www.facebook.com/dbalsitis David Balsitis

          A cur­rent or for­mer stu­dent would acknowl­edge or even appre­ci­ate the meme page.  I haven’t perused the entire cat­a­log on the page, but the few I have seen are true and bru­tally honest.

          • http://www.facebook.com/NitrosDragon Ethan Wagner

            Anon wasn’t mak­ing any com­ments about the meme page. They made a very direct (and rude) com­ment about Matt.” A cur­rent or for­mer stu­dent would acknowl­edge or even appre­ci­ate the meme page.“
            How can you say that with such certainty?

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