i can haz memes?

By Shelby Devitt and Ross Hettel

Memes. Memes everywhere.

NIU students who love to waste time on Facebook were gifted a new outlet for procrastination this week, courtesy of sophomore English major Danny Cozzi.

For those not in the know, a meme is a funny picture or video that is passed between users on the internet. Examples are the infamous LOLCats or a philosophically quizzical Velociraptor.

University meme-specific Facebook pages are a relatively new sensation. According to knowyourmeme.com, the first school to have their own page was Florida International University Miami. They started their page on Oct. 1. Over the next few months several other schools in the United States, Canada and the UK created pages too.

Within the last two weeks however, the number of University Meme pages skyrocketed.

For example, University of Illinois’ Facebook page has been the fastest growing of all the Illinois schools. At press time, it was determined that the page receives around 84 “likes” per hour. Northwestern University was 2nd fastest at 32.6 “likes” per hour. NIU is currently the 3rd fastest growing at 23 “likes” per hour.

Cozzi created the Facebook page Northern Illinois University Memes after discovering a similar page for University of Iowa.

“I looked for one for NIU and didn’t find one, so I thought maybe I should just make one and see what happens,” Cozzi said.

 He started the page at 1:30 a.m. Tuesday. In  24 hours, the page had 1,500 likes. At press time, the page had reached 2,222.

“I honestly just figured that just the people I knew would like it and post stuff, but it really exploded,” Cozzi said.

A few of the memes are pulled off other websites, but NIU students have created the majority of the content themselves.

Cozzi estimates that the majority of NIU Memes’ users had prior knowledge of meme culture. Some have been inspired to create their own memes for the first time, using sites like memegenerator.net and quickmeme.com.

Notable memes on NIU’s page include a Chuck Testa joke on the Angry Chick Evans Fieldhouse Goose, Scumbag NIU (a variation on Scumbag Steve), Futurama Fry wondering, “Not sure if Ombudsman… or Gandalf,” jokes on Molly’s relocation, dorm life, the Huskie bus line, NIU Wireless, DeKalb bars, the disparity between the success of the football and basketball teams and the social anxiety that comes with walking through MLK Commons.

Those itching to go submit their hilarious new meme should be cautious however, it’s easy to create a dud.

“Some people didn’t know the right way to make one funny,” Cozzi said. “There are some on there that don’t make sense based on what they are supposed to be. I don’t really care if they’re wrong or not, because it’s just a place to share a laugh about being students at NIU.”

Cozzi’s favorite meme is Condescending Wonka, which is created from a screen captured image of Willy Wonka looking sarcastically bemused captioned with a patronizing comment. He made one for the profile picture after the page reached 2,000 likes.

However, as is the case with just about everything on the Internet, there are people who don’t seem to find this as funny as the rest of us.

“Out of those 2,000 people, there are only a few complaining and it’s not ruining my fun,” Cozzi said. “I just want people to spread the news and like the page. The more people, the more memes, the more laughs.”