Last semester, I had vaguely heard of “Swampy Memes,” the meme Facebook group for the University of Florida. If you’re curious about joining or just taking a look at the page, the full name of the group is “Swampy UF memes for top ten public teens.” A few people I was following on Instagram posted something in reference to that page, but I didn’t know much else about it. Back in January, I was talking to one of my friends, and she mentioned something about student government memes on the page.
Then, one day, on the “UF Class of 2022” page (the original, largest page that is now deleted), someone posted that joining the meme group is the best way to get involved in knowing about campus life. I decided to click on the link and join the page, not knowing what I was getting myself into. My first few days on the page involved scrolling through memes, many of which I related with. I joined the group in February, back when student government campaigning was still going on.
At the time, there was a joke going around about a Waffle Party. I made my first meme, and it didn’t get too many likes, only about 50. A couple weeks later, I made a CISE-related meme based on a scene from the Netflix original, Black Mirror. This meme was my best, and it got 600+ Facebook reactions. It was the most reacted-to and commented-on meme out of all the memes that I had created and posted. I constantly got notifications about it for the next three weeks or so. Every time I checked Facebook, I would see new notifications about my meme. Many people tagged their friends in that meme and even made some side comments about it. I was surprised that my meme was such a hit, given that I was pretty new to the group.
Unfortunately, there was a downside. After endless scrolling, I would often see that an hour had passed, just from scrolling though the memes on the page. But many of them were just so good! At some point, I also started tagging my friends in relatable memes, whether it be based on a class or just an experience.
There were many times where the idea for a new meme would just pop into my head, and I would immediately set everything aside to go find the images to make the meme. I had also received so much support from my friends and people from organizations. People would comment on my memes saying how relatable they are or how great it is. Before joining Swampy Memes, I didn’t have any experience with making memes. Seeing the memes that relate to the life of a UF student and thinking about my own experiences led me to pursue my ideas and create memes.
Also, through the meme group, I had become more aware of the dynamics with student organizations, and it motivated me to be more involved. Now, I’m passionate about many issues that students face and try to help out in the best way possible, whether it’s commenting that I relate to a certain situation or making a meme about it.
Overall, through the page, it made me realize that I’m not struggling alone, and so many other students at UF experience the same things.
We’re all in this together, and we have the memes to prove it.