College Memes Madness: ‘Internet Picture Craze’ a Sudden Mega-Hit on Many Campuses

College and University Meme Pages: A Starter Guide

Campus-specific memes are suddenly invading the Facebook streams of students at schools nationwide.  Building on its general popularity in recent years as a quick-hit form of entertainment and commentary, the Internet meme has gone explosively viral among the student set since the start of the month.

The origins of students’ “new online obsession” are still unclear.  But a rash of recent campus newspaper stories confirm that undergraduates’ online scrolling is currently awash in “meme madness.”  As Penn State’s online student outlet Onward State asked in a post a few days ago, “Have a complaint? A grievance about your university life? A sentiment that you know all of your fellow students will share? Don’t call your friends and talk about it. Make a meme for it.”

In that spirit, students are racing to create meme-focused F’book pages for their schools before they are claimed by someone else.  From what I have stumbled across so far, the pages are NOT affiliated with student media of any sort.  They are creations of individual students or small groups of friends looking to share a laugh or get their peers’ attention.

The result: a flash-bang surge in ‘likes’ and user-submitted entries that are either launching the meme into the college media mainstream or casting it off a “wonderful concept that will probably be bastardized into the ground in a few weeks.”

In a story late last week in The Daily Free Press at Boston University, a BU sophomore who created a university memes Facebook page summed up the phenomenon.  In his words, “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 close to 6,400 likes.

Meanwhile, the ‘likes’ on meme pages laser-focused on Penn State, University of Wisconsin Madison, and Rutgers hover around 10,000 each.  While the popularity of these pages and others like them skyrocket, the carping is in hot pursuit.

As a student commenter asked, “My Facebook is totally cluttered with people making lame memes for their schools. I just saw two of the same meme back to back, but different schools.”  There are separate complaints that clueless students are misusing the memes as they were intended by their original creators, to the point of mockery.

A few examples of student-specific memes that premiered on Facebook pages this past week:

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