Developing a popular meme requires a unique sort of ingenuity. The process begins with an idea eloquently phrased into a short blurb, which must be bitingly true or blatantly sarcastic to catch a reader's eye.
This perfectly phrased statement must be painstakingly synthesized with the ideal picture, whether it be "Scumbag Steve" or "Success Kid." If combined correctly, a meme can bring about unabated hilarity, or in the case of memes featuring "Conspiracy Keanu," perhaps an epiphany.
Though simply pictures with text, memes can cause hours of distraction because they are injected with relatable emotion while still acting as a quick read. Created three weeks ago, the Geneseo Memes page and group already has over 1,300 members and allows students to pass along unique memes to Geneseo.
The original Geneseo Memes page was created by freshman Brice Ludwig as he sat bored in his dorm room one Thursday night. Ludwig said he noticed that many other colleges had popular meme pages and decided to create one for Geneseo. "I initially invited 10 people to [the page]," Ludwig said. "24 hours later it had 1,000 people."
Ludwig said he was shocked by the popularity of Geneseo Memes. "It's crazy when I'm sitting in a lecture hall and I see like three people on the memes page," he said.
The page – originally a public Facebook page that anyone could join – ran into trouble when some non-Geneseo students posted inappropriate comments. To prevent future incidents, senior Dominick Ciruzzi created a private Geneseo Memes group whose members must be approved before being a part of the group. Ciruzzi and Ludwig are currently the group administrators.
The page has also run into controversy over what makes a good meme versus a bad one. "There is a science to making memes – it's a formula," Ciruzzi said.
Memes are like their own unique language: Each picture is meant to be associated with a certain type of phrase. "Lame Pun Coon" memes, depicting a raccoon's face, are meant to feature terrible but funny puns. "First World Problems" memes, characterized by a crying woman, should cite a problem that people often overdramatize in the face of pressing problems of survival in other countries. If the text doesn't correspond with the picture, the meme won't make sense.
Ludwig and Ciruzzi said that they agreed that the best memes on the page are those that are specific to Geneseo and relevant to the largest demographic of students. Ludwig cited memes on "high [Campus Auxiliary Service] prices and bad [Red Jacket Dining Hall] food."
Whether the Geneseo Memes page is a longstanding tradition or a month-long fad, it has certainly provided a forum for students to communicate. Ciruzzi asked, "If we can bond over these memes, what else can Geneseo students do?"
In order to request membership for the Geneseo Memes page, search for "Geneseo Memes" on Facebook.