UTexas Memes Facebook page creator Daniel Monroy said he was stunned to get an email from a high school student stating: “Thanks for creating the page, I’m going to UT instead of Rice because of it.” While Monroy, a computer science freshman, said he is not sure if the message is true, he is still surprised by the impact the UTexas Memes page has had.
“That’s a tough decision to make based on memes,” Monroy said. “I don’t really know if I would base my college career decision based on a memes page.”
The Facebook UTexas Memes page, which hit over 4,000 “likes” less than 24 hours after its creation, is still rising in popularity. The page rose to over 14,000 likes as of Monday night.
UTexas Memes is a Facebook page devoted to user-generated “memes” that are related to the University. Memes are types of viral, usually somewhat comedic ideas that pass between Internet users. The most common and popular type of meme are macros; usually generic photos accompanied with lines of text at the top and bottom of the photo, which together make a comedic comment about life or culture.
Monroy, who previously had not given his name in interviews, decided to go public Monday.
“Basically, I just wanted to see what my friends’ reactions were,” Monroy said. “It wasn’t because I wanted everyone to know.”
Monroy started the page the morning of Feb. 5. Before midnight, less than 24 hours later, the page had hit over 3,000 likes. Monroy said he did not expect the sharp rise in popularity.
“I thought it was going to reach 1,000 by Friday,” Monroy said. “It started growing really fast. I didn’t even know what to do at first.”
On Feb. 6, the page had 4,449 likes at eight in the morning and gained several hundred likes every hour.
“I’m still overwhelmed over how fast it has grown,” Monroy said. “I just really think that it’s good people are enjoying the page and that was basically my goal at first.”
During this initial time of creation and growth, math sophomore Deepa Pokala said people sharing memes from the page took over her Facebook news feed.
“First I was annoyed, but then I warmed up to the idea,” Pokala said.
Nutrition senior Pooja Mehta said she found the page enjoyable from the start.
“They’re really hilarious,” Mehta said. “They are a nice study break, but of course some people don’t know how to make them.”
Like the email from the high school student who picked UT over Rice, Monroy said the page has surprised him again and again. He created an email address for the page after the first day, when he realized it would not be possible to police inappropriate memes by himself. He said people have already sent him links to memes that were offensive and he took them down.
Monroy was also surprised that several companies have offered sponsorships in exchange for advertisements on the page. Companies that Monroy would not identify have offered money in exchange for links or memes related to their company, but Monroy does not think he will accept any of the sponsorships.
“I don’t feel like I need sponsorships and I wasn’t really looking to get money out of the page. It was just for enjoying it,” Monroy said.
Monroy said he owed the page’s popularity to the users who posted memes.
“The page is really made out of the people that are in it,” he said. “I just created the page and that’s all. It just happened to grow.”
However, Monroy said he does feel some satisfaction in creating the page.
“To feel like you’ve made something that everyone is enjoying and having fun with is really good,” Monroy said.
“It’s good they have that,” Monroy said. “If it grows, that’s pretty cool. Even though they are our rival schools, it is still something their students can relate to and have fun with.”
Pokala said that while the page is enjoyable, it would not stay around forever.
“Like everything, I think it will hype up a lot, but it will simmer down a little,” Pokala said.
Printed on, Tuesday February 14, 2012 as: Memes page creator explains popularity