Daniel Monroy

Computer science sophomore Daniel Monroy created the UTexas Memes Facebook page in February because he wanted to centralize UT themed memes. The University Co-op announced last week it would begin selling UTexas Memes t-shirts on their website.

Photo Credit: Marisa Vasquez | Daily Texan Staff

With 18,000 likes and counting, the UTexas Memes Facebook page has not left the spotlight yet. Page creator Daniel Monroy said he thought his Facebook page would have died out by now — but it hasn’t. The page has continued to attract new fans and “likes” and is now bringing in the bucks, a development that has prompted both excitement and disappointment.

The University Co-op announced last week it would begin selling four UTexas Memes T -shirts on its website. Monroy announced the Co-op partnership on the Facebook page. Some users said they were excited to buy one, while others were upset because they felt the Co-op was capitalizing on the site and making profits. In addition, students have also voiced complaints that memes they posted on the Facebook page are being used on the T-shirts without proper credit.

Monroy, a computer science sophomore, gets a percentage of profit for every T-shirt sold.

“We’re seeing how it starts and if it’s selling,” Monroy said. “It’s going to be a fun project. I’m going to be looking forward to it.”

Memes are comical ideas shared by Internet users, and the UTexas Memes page is made up of the more common ones, macros. Macros are generic photos with lines of text that usually make a comical comment about certain situations in everyday life. In the case of UTexas Memes, the memes typically refer to University of Texas culture and news on the UT campus. Co-op officials said that currently the T-shirt with the highest sales is a reference to an incident in May where UT student Nick Engmann was hit by a Capital Metro bus during the biannual foam sword fight. The T-shirt reads: “No cruze en frente del autobus [sic]/Challenge accepted.”

Co-op promotions manager William Kelleher said he first contacted Daniel a few weeks after the page launched in February. The page had received more than 4,000 “likes” within the first 24 hours of launching, and it hit 10,000 just a few days later. Memes infested Facebook users’ news feeds, which some hated and others enjoyed.

“We’re all fans of the page here at the Co-op,” Kelleher said. “As soon as UTexas Memes came out, we immediately saw how everyone kind of gravitated toward this.”

Monroy chose to keep his identity a mystery initially but decided to go public and reveal his part in the project on Feb. 12. His Facebook page and identity were featured in several media outlets, including The Alcalde, The Horn and The Daily Texan. Kelleher said many at the Co-op were impressed a freshman founded the page.

“We thought it seemed like a good partnership, and Daniel has been excited from the get-go,” Kelleher said.

Kelleher said the deal to develop products featuring UTexas Memes has been a four-month process. He said it took a while to get Co-op management on board with the idea to sell shirts, but they eventually gave him approval.

He said the Co-op selected some of the more popular memes on the site and used the text only, redesigning the art for the T-shirt.

Kelleher said the Co-op is waiting to see if online sales are successful before they begin offering them in-store. Kelleher also said there were plans to make more T-shirts and sales have already been made.

Radio-television-film and Asian cultures and languages senior Anthony Fisher, who originally posted the “No cruze en frente del autobus/Challenge accepted” meme, said he was excited at first to see his meme turned into a T-shirt until he realized he wasn’t given credit.

“Why didn’t they ask me for my permission?” Fisher said. “I heard nothing about it before it launched.”

Fisher said he messaged Monroy inquiring if he was entitled to credit or a share in profits, but Monroy told him uploading memes to Facebook grants the page free use of the images. There is a disclaimer on the page that says: “Any meme you post in the page can be freely used by the page.”

“I don’t think the Co-op did anything morally wrong. I just kind of wish I had notification ahead of time,” Fisher said. “I’m not against it, though. I might even buy a shirt.”

But Matt Evans, a recent UT graduate, said he had more problems with the idea of the Co-op selling the T-shirts. He is the creator of the “What starts here [Sixth Street]... Is forgotten tomorrow” meme, which is being printed on a T-shirt. Co-op representative Kelleher said the Sixth Street T-shirt meme is currently the second most sold meme T-shirt.

“It does bug me a little bit,” Evans said. “Not necessarily because of the cash or money aspect. I honestly think the guy who created it did a great thing for the school, but I think it’s going a little too far by taking ideas from other people and trying to make a profit from it.”

Evans said he felt the T-shirts were changing what the page is about.

“I don’t think it’s fair that the Co-op is taking these ideas from students and making T-shirts out of them,” Evans said. “This was a page students used to take a break in between classes, and now it feels like the Co-op is taking that away from them by trying to make a profit off of it.”

Evans said he did not have plans to buy a T-shirt.

Kelleher said the Co-op redesigned the art of every meme used on T-shirts.

“We’re not taking the exact design from the memes. We’re taking the idea and changing it up and making it T-shirt-ready,” Kelleher said. “We actually had someone in-house take the T-shirt and change up the design. But Daniel has the rights to those, since they were posted to his Facebook page.”

The University Co-op announced last week it would begin selling UTexas Memes shirts on their website on a shirt-by-shirt basis.

UTexas Memes started as a Facebook page in early February. Daniel Monroy, computer science sophomore and the creator of the page, said the Co-op first contacted him about the idea in March and then finalized the deal in early June. On June 14, Monroy announced on the Facebook page that the Co-op was selling four t-shirts.

“We’re just seeing how it starts and if it’s selling,” Monroy said. “It’s going to be a fun project. I’m going to be looking forward to it.”

Co-op promotions manager William Kelleher said the Co-op is waiting to see if online sales are successful, and there is a possibility of the shirts being sold in store. Kelleher also said there were plans to make more t-shirts.

“It’s too soon to say how they’re doing, but we have been selling shirts,” Kelleher said.

However, some students have voiced complaints that memes they posted on the Facebook page are being used on the promotional t-shirts without proper credit. Kelleher said the Facebook page has a disclaimer stating, “Any meme you post in the page can be freely used by the page.”

“Each meme shirt that we made, we took the idea and the copy from the meme, but we redesigned the whole shirt,” Kelleher said. “We’re not taking the exact design from the memes, we’re taking the idea and changing it up and making it t-shirt-ready.”

Memes are comical ideas spread by Internet users, and the UTexas Memes page is made up of the more common ones, macros. Macros are generic photos with lines of text that usually make a comical comment about life. In the case of UTexas Memes, the memes typically refer to University of Texas culture.

Editor’s Note: More UTexas Memes coverage and student reactions to the t-shirts will be featured in Monday’s print edition of the Daily Texan.

Daniel Monroy, a computer science freshman, is the creator of a facebook group UTexas Memes that garnered over 4,000 ‘likes’ less than a day after he first made the group. Monroy decided to keep his role in the group secret until yesterday.

Photo Credit: Zachary Strain | Daily Texan Staff

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.

Since UTexas Memes was created, other universities have also had their own memes page spin-offs, including Baylor Memes, OU Memes, Texas Tech Memes and Northwestern Memes.

“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