Meme accounts at MVHS

Julia Yang

Though memes have experienced explosive popularity since 2011, the rise of MVHS-focused pages and groups has occurred mostly within the last couple of years on newer platforms like Instagram and Facebook, with accounts such as @montavistamemes, @internationalthesmemiansociety and class groups such as the Moore AP Chemistry group. Click through the pages to learn more about how these pages began.

Monta Vista Memes
*In order to preserve the anonymity of the account’s spokesperson, they will be referred to as “Jane” throughout this story.

The friends were huddled in their usual lunchtime spot, looking over the popular South-Bay-based Instagram meme account, @siliconvalleyprobs, when one of them had an idea — one that would, in a few short months, become @montavistamemes, the most popular MVHS-themed meme account on Instagram.

Drawing inspiration from popular memes on Tumblr, Reddit and other social media platforms, the group behind @montavistamemes began the account in late September to little traction. During Homecoming week, however, memes posted about the altered schedule, skits and rally helped the account receive over 300 likes per post, propelling the account to its current 800 followers and counting.

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The growing popularity of their account, however, hasn’t influenced the group’s creative process — they still make memes in reaction to the school’s current events — but they’ve realized that specificity to certain topics is what helped them reach their level of popularity.

“We found the first couple of [memes] to be a little more general,” Jane said. “Soon after homecoming, when we first started posting more specific [memes], that’s when we became more popular. So I guess we found what works. But, I wouldn’t say it changed how we make [the memes].”

Another factor in the account’s popularity and growth is its notoriety; all members of the account keep all aspects of their identity as secret as possible, refraining from revealing their names, grades and even the number of people managing the account (the range they told El Estoque is “less than ten, more than two” members). Their anonymity is a constant topic of conversation among students, who often try to guess the admins’ identities, often unsuccessful.IMG_0712 copy

“It’s really fun to hear when people talk about it in real life, and when we’re sitting right next to them and they have no idea that it’s you so that’s the best part about it,” Jane said. “It’s really funny cause sometimes people will show me memes from the page and be like “Have you seen this yet?” And I’ll respond ‘No, haha, I didn’t see that yet, that’s so funny; I wonder how they came up with it.’”

Though the account tries to post multiple times a week, this goal often times proves difficult, because the stock of memes the group keeps may run out. Sometimes, students send the account direct messages with memes to post, along with various questions that the admins find funny.

“Our DM is always open, and when people send us stuff sometimes we post it, and we always ask people if they want credit for it or not, and most of the time people say they don’t,” Jane said. “We only get submitted memes like once every two weeks, but we get a lot of DMs asking us who we are. Most of the time they’re supportive and just people asking who we are or guessing who we are. It’s really funny.”

As for when they’ll stop running the account — and when they’ll reveal their identities — the members said they’re still thinking about what they’ll do once they graduate, but that they have plans.

“I think we’re planning to continue at least until we graduate, and then when we do [graduate], we’ll hand it off to underclassmen, and we’ll reveal ourselves,” Jane said. “We haven’t quite decided…we never really talked about it, we kind of just decided like hey, it would be funny if no one knew who we were, and that’s how it started. I guess we’ll figure it out as we go.”

 

Moore AP Chemistry Group
*In order to preserve the anonymity of the account’s spokesperson, they will be referred to as “Beatrice” throughout this story.

Facebook groups and pages featuring memes about a certain topic have maintained popularity throughout the years — one recent example being the now-almost-300-member-strong Moore AP Chemistry group.

Unlike other popular school-themed Facebook meme groups such as UC Berkeley Memes for Edgy Teens, the Moore AP Chemistry group began with only the 100-or-so chemistry students taught by AP Chemistry teacher Supriya Moore.

One member, Beatrice*, began getting into MVHS-themed memes when she found @montavistamemes, and began tagging her friends in the comments. Memes related to school, she believes, can be very effective in producing supportive reactions from students.

So when the Moore AP Chemistry group on Facebook began to make memes more often, Beatrice was excited for the prospect of more specific memes coming to MVHS.

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A post featured in another meme group, reposted in the MVHS Moore AP Chemistry group because students found the message to be relevant.

“The [memes] that are really specific to a certain class that I’ve taken — they just hit me in the heart, like I relate.” Beatrice said. “The most popular memes are the ones that people really relate to, so that’s what really got Monta Vista students, I guess, hooked on them. It’s like there’s a funny side to Monta Vista I guess. And we’re not all just writing robots.”

When a series of events led to all of Ms. Moore’s classes retaking an exam, the group exploded in activity, making memes in reaction to the verdict. According to Beatrice, almost everyone had something to contribute.

“[Ms. Moore making us retake the test] was unfair, and we were all like ‘We’re done with this — we should make a joke out of this.’” Beatrice said. “So one person started by putting a meme into the group suddenly, and it just like an influx of memes.”

When the story of both the test and the memes spread, the popularity of the page grew, gaining 200 more members for the memes including those from outside of MVHS. Not only did the memes bring many new people into the community — according to Beatrice, it also strengthened the bond of the existing one.

“We all had something funny to say so we all did, and it brought us together,” Beatrice said. “I know everyone in all three classes because we all talk to each other so much. It’s like the idea of like our unified struggling at Monta Vista that fuels this environment of meme pages.”

 

International Thesmemian Society
*In order to preserve the anonymity of the account’s spokesperson, they will be referred to as “Jacob” throughout this story.

Specificity is what the founders of the relatively new MVHS-themed meme account, @internationalmesmemiansociety, hopes will propel their drama-themed memes to popularity among members of the MVHS Drama Department. A play off of the title of MVHS’ drama club, the International Thespian Society, the account began during a tech rehearsal for this year’s fall play, “She Kills Monsters.”

“We were talking about memes and [@montavistamemes], and how the rehearsal process [for drama] was a meme itself,” Jacob said. “Then we kind of decided to make our own page…we thought there were many ‘meme-able’ things about drama.”

The most “meme-able” thing that the group took inspiration from was La Croix Sparkling Water, a soda water that IMG_0715 copy (1)sparked two polarized opinions — one in support of the drink and the other opposed — within the drama class, yet united them as a topic of discussion.

The account’s first meme featured a photo that a few members of the Drama Department took when they dressed up as La Croix cans on Halloween. In order to let the Drama Department know about the account when it first began without revealing their identities, the founders of the account began by following everyone in the class and commenting attention-grabbing things on their posts.

Though it’s only been about a month since starting the account, and they haven’t been very active because of their busy schedules, it’s gained about 36 followers, which was both expected and unexpected for the founders. They knew that the number of followers would remain small because of the limited audience Drama Department memes target, but they didn’t expect so many people to take a liking to the humor.

“You feel like you have a community when you see memes that relate to you…you feel like ‘Wow, this is something I’m a part of because I laugh at this meme…[memes] unite [us] together,’” Jacob said.

The account founders believe that their follower count is irrelevant, and instead focus on making better memes and trying to foster a community within the Drama Department through them. And despite some jokes made about their page about everything from the memes to the name, they stay encouraged.

“[We] laugh, so that’s the only thing that matters at this point,” Jacob said. “We have the people that really like us and we have the people that hate us. We have our highs and lows, but we’re trying to get it to a place where we’re consistently producing good content.”