UWEC can haz memes

Story by Emily Gresbrink

You ever notice that person in the back of your huge lecture hall with their laptop open, snickering at something and then nudging the person next to them who gives the “NO WAY DUDE” look and starts holding in muffled laughter?

Yeah, he is the worst.

Nevertheless, sometimes what is giggle-worthy is shared on Facebook and other websites like Reddit, 4chan, Tumblr and pretty much everywhere else you can post a picture and troll around.

These viral images are what we call “memes” (pronounced “meem,” for those who don’t know — it is not “maym” or “meh-meh.” WRONG!) and they catch fire quicker than an old rickety building.

And guess what? Sometime since school started this semester, UW-Eau Claire got their very own meme page on Facebook! We now have adorable, handcrafted and (mostly) hilarious images paired with sayings about Eau Claire. By the time this is in print, the page will probably have surpassed 2,500 likes.

A friend told me about it in physics class one day and I ended up being “that guy” I mentioned earlier — but with good reason! It’s a direct copy of bigger universities (mostly UW-Madison, which is where college memes took off) who have already taken school-related phrases and placed them on preexisting images, mostly from memegenerator.net or quickmeme.com.

And personally, I think the Eau Claire meme page on Facebook is absolutely wonderful.

It’s bringing people together over common experiences on a social network. Finally, social networking that is both hilarious and relevant! Students are taking those “little everyday Eau Claire moments” and putting them into a place where we can all share the experiences. Think of it as cyber-bonding. Even if that cyber-bonding involves people complaining about such-and-such  class or how big the hill is. We’ve all been there, right?

Memes are special like that; they can bring together common experiences and feelings (and sometime hysterical and moderately inappropriate comments) and let everyone get involved. That’s some pretty reasonable bonding and socializing, if you ask me.

Ah, the magic of the internet. Bringing people together, turning velociraptors into philosophers, hipsters into kitties and creating the canvas for hilarity.

The downside of Eau Claire’s meme page: some people really don’t know what they are doing and end up being awkward. But it’s OK; we’re all newbs at one point or another. These things take time.

And then there are people (cough REDDITORS) who are whining and complaining about these “crappy memes” all over Facebook. Honestly, just go back to your own websites or un-like the page and have fun elsewhere. Don’t bash people for giving it the ol’ college try.

But there is a limit, and some people just go overboard. Calm down. Memes are like chocolates: too much of it and you barf and never like them again.

But minus the epic fails, slightly pretentious “internet elites” and trolls, memes are some of the most simple (yet cunningly clever) art forms out there. It takes skill to make it relevant and funny — and I’ve learned there are many hilarious people who share similar sentiments about campus life with me.

To which I say — THE HILL IS TOO DAMN HIGH (with an image of Jimmy McMillan behind it, of course) and proceed to giggle in the back of my lecture hall.