However, by the time this sentence hits your retina, this tally will surely be an underestimation of the true number of students following the page.
Since its creation Friday night by sophomores Billy Swift, Trae Story, Hunter Story and Chris Wilhelm, Bama Memes has attracted new Facebook fans and contributors at an explosive pace, and the trajectory shows no signs of faltering anytime soon.
Internet memes are stock photos paired with humorous or satirical text, usually intended to provide social commentary. Max Dolensky, a Bama Memes contributor and freshman majoring in management information systems and music composition, feels imagery is key to memes’ widespread appeal.
“Memes can be used to make points or jokes that just aren’t as funny in plain text,” he said.
Contributors to the Bama Memes page create graphics specifically geared toward the often humorous and sometimes aggravating aspects of student life in the University of Alabama community.
Co-creator Swift, majoring in computer science, feels Bama Memes’ direct connection to its audience’s shared experiences has been imperative to the page’s seemingly overnight success.
“We think it’s taken off quickly because students were looking for an outlet to share inside jokes and campus-related humor,” he said in an emailed statement. “The best memes on the page are the ones only UA students can understand.”
Swift cited one such meme, featuring a picture of the character Boromir from “Lord of the Rings” with the text “One does not simply stay connected to UA WiFi,” as an example of the page’s Alabama-centric bent.
Students seem to be having no trouble connecting to Bama Memes.
“I like how anyone walking around on campus can understand what it’s about. If you’re here for a month, you run into things and understand where they’re coming from,” said Alex Austin, a senior majoring in journalism. “When I go through and look at the memes on the page, I say, ‘Yep, been there. Yep, been there,’”
Gordon Maples, a senior majoring in history, first found out about the page this past weekend from observing his friends’ activities through his Facebook news feed.
“Not all of them are well-executed,” he said, “but most are really funny. There are a lot of good inside jokes.”
Swift said Bama Memes has already received some criticism from what he deemed “meme elitists” concerning incorrect use of pictures to convey certain jokes or meanings, but he insists the page’s primary goal is user enjoyment.
“Many people have expressed anger or disapproval because the page does not use memes correctly. To all the haters, we apologize if all the memes posted are not used perfectly. But many people find them funny and that’s what matters,” Swift said. “For every one person who complains about a meme not being used correctly or says we are idiots, there are a hundred people who think the memes are funny and get something positive out of it.”
A campus-oriented meme page is not unique to the University. According to Dolensky, in the past five months, college meme pages have been popping up at schools across the country. In fact, Auburn University’s page inspired the creation of Bama Memes.
“We decided to create the page after seeing the Auburn Memes page,” said Swift. “There wasn’t a Bama Memes page yet, so we just thought we’d start it.”
Swift is unsure of how long Bama Memes can maintain its rocket-powered ascent, but he feels the page is starting from a solid base from which to grow.
“Facebook is a great platform because almost all college students have an account, and ideas spread very swiftly,” he said. “Hopefully, [Bama Memes] will grow on its own as people share it with their friends. We invite anyone who loves the University of Alabama to join in on the fun.”