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Duke Memes Soundoff

“Top ranked school: quarter of students looking at memes”—so says the profile picture for Duke’s newest online craze. With more than 3,300 “likes” on Facebook as of Tuesday night, the Duke Memes Facebook page has become the preferred study distraction on campus. More than 100 memes—comical images and phrases that comment on social culture and often become viral. The Duke-focused memes poke fun at campus trademarks like Shooters II and the Marketplace and are multiplying by the minute. The Chronicle’s Caroline Fairchild spoke to students on campus about their reactions to the new Facebook phenomenon.

“I think Duke students like chronicling the Duke experience in a shorthand format that we can all understand. It is a lot of smart, witty people have been able to take those experiences and turn them into viral entertainment.”

—senior Chris Abkarians

“My roommates and I were searching the page, and we were talking about things that we associate with the Duke experience. Where we live, we make harmless fun of girls screaming, and we live below girls who scream at each other—I think that that is something that a lot of our friends can relate to as well.”

—senior Arjun Khanna, who created a meme that says, “Not sure if screaming people dying in a fire, or sorority girls greeting each other”

“It’s a perfect excuse to procrastinate coupled with being a nice stress reliever. And, I think the competitive streak in a lot of Duke students has really come out—everyone wants to post the best meme.”

—senior Allyson Morton

“I and the other nerdy kids have been looking at [the page] for a long time, and it is interesting to see it go mainstream. It is a very unique way to express the things that bring the campus together. College ACB and Juicy Campus were all about gossip. This is much more healthy expression and more about community building.”

—Zach Fuller, Trinity ’11

“The funniest part is how clever everyone is and how witty everyone is. Things I have seen are true, but I have never really thought about it. They are sarcastic but so true. They are a unifying Duke theme. Other things are particular to certain social groups, but this is something that all Duke students can relate to.”

—junior Jaimie Woo

“It is all over our Facebook. Everyone can relate to at least a couple of them. Everyone can understand those­—tenting, Shooters and the Marketplace. When we are all stressed out with schoolwork, it is good to have something to look at and poke fun at. I overheard my roommate cracking up in the other room and decided to like it on Facebook as well.”

—senior Keely MacDonald

“I created one about free T-shirts because I noticed, especially in the basketball games, that they only have X-Large, and my friends and I are always frustrated about that so I thought it would be funny to create [a meme] about that.”

—junior Jenny Walters

“I saw one yesterday about the post office­—and they always email you at 4:01 telling you have a package. That was a good one because it has happened to me like five times.”

—freshman Jason Rice

“There is a huge undercurrent of memes on the Internet, and those who consider themselves Internet addicts have been looking at them for a long time. Duke students are pretty competitive people, and we wanted to show that we could get into it, too—and people are always looking for a distraction from homework.”

—freshman Sam Hofacker

“I am in this class about culture and new media, and we spent half an hour talking about Duke memes... Everyone in the class had seen the website expect the professor and it just went up last night. We talked about the way something like that can spread so quickly. Students can unite behind the fact that they get the same joke, and they get the validation because people ‘like’ their work.”

—senior Emma Miller

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