Left: A meme posted to the Troy Students by Students Facebook group by Zipeng He. Right: Another meme posted to the same group by Soumitra Ganguly. These are a few examples of students using popular meme formats to voice their opinions and observations about campus issues.
People posting memes on the various Troy students’ pages have been giving everyone a lighthearted way to view the hot topics at the university. Whether it be in hyping up for the rivalry game against South, or addressing the potholes on the road, or even the line at the new rec center, memes roasting the issues have been served and enjoyed in social media thoroughly.
In creating a unique approach to dealing with daily inconveniences, memes have become a culture in Troy University students. For Soumitra (Sam) Ganguly, memes have become a great channel to open conversation on a topic within the student body.
“Memes can make someone laugh and also, at the same time, require deep thought to unravel their true message,” said Ganguly, a sophomore physics major from Kolkata, India. “In any case, there is sure to be a conversation that follows.”
One of the most popular memes that became circulated was the “Lord Commander” meme during the SGA elections of Spring 2019. These memes not only pointed out the nitty-gritty issues that students faced on campus, but also called for accountability on behalf of the student representatives serving on the SGA.
“The message was just that we were stronger together and that a leader should lead from within not from above,” said Christian Carlson, a senior theater major from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and the “Lord Commander.”
“I believe memes can start conversations that normal questions can’t because they don’t appear to take themselves so seriously,” Carlson said. “When humor is added to the mix, I think the realm of what can be discussed gets a lot bigger.”
Due to the templates used for memes usually being universal, or something that has become viral on the internet, the message conveyed by memes is easily understood.
“Memes also transcend language barriers,” said Jeremy Johnson, a senior financial economics major from Benton Harbor, Michigan. “People from all over the world can come together to laugh at funny pictures and captions.”
Johnson, an active meme creator on the Troy student social media group, shares that memes have heightened engagement compared to a simple post on the platform.
“I’ve realized that if you make someone laugh (especially with a funny picture), then you have a much greater chance of getting engagements such as likes, comments or shares, which means more people know about it and thus more remember it,” said Johnson.
For Johnson, Carlson and Ganguly alike, the memes that they create are all personal where it is relevant to their life or their social circles.
“I try to put my complaint out to the group of students to see if I’m being ridiculous or not,” said Carlson in explaining how he uses the platform to assess the graveness of issues.
However, at the end of the day, no matter the controversies that memes sometimes invite, all three agree that they make memes just to get a good laugh and share something funny.
“I make them to create laughs for the audience intended, no matter how great or small that audience is,” said Johnson. “With Troy Students, it’s relatively easy to make a meme go viral as long as you’re knowledgeable of what the general online presence is in the group.
“But overall, seeing that people laughed at my memes is more than enough satisfaction to continue to create them.”