Meme account satirizes the Silicon Valley teenage experience

January 22, 2019 — by Allison Hartley

“Bay Area kids: [go literally anywhere outside California for winter break]. Winter: [is cold],” reads a caption above the “Surprised Pikachu” meme from December 23. The post, which pokes fun at Bay Area inhabitants’ softness to extreme weather, received about 7,500 likes on the popular Instagram meme page @siliconvalleyprobs.

The original owners of the account posted their first meme in August 2016, and the page has steadily gained followers since a popularity spike in early 2017, growing to almost 35,000 followers. Often referencing Tesla CEO Elon Musk, the e-cigarette Juul, Apple products, Hydroflasks and boba, the page captures nuances of Silicon Valley through memes targeting an audience of privileged Bay Area teens.

A December post shows a falling building precariously supported by wood poles, labelling the building as “depression, anxiety, and overwhelming pressure from silicon valley’s toxic schooling environment” and the lumber as “boba,” “Philz [coffee]” and “vine compilations.”

The current administrator of the page thinks the page is popular because it speaks to situations many Bay Area teens have experienced.

“The culture of Silicon Valley resulted in a unique and somewhat bizarre experience for teenagers living in the area, and [the original admins] created the page in order to satirize Bay Area culture and trends,” said the current manager, who chose to remain anonymous in an interview with The Falcon. She started to post on the account about a year ago when the original administrators solicited help after growing busy with other commitments.

Senior Samyu Iyer, who submitted a featured meme in August 2017, said, “I still follow, and overall I think it's a solid page. Some of the posts are more relatable than others while some are more niche in their target audience and I don’t always get them.”

A few months ago, the page began to create community album posts with memes with a common theme sourced from followers “as a way to recognize the funniest memes from the teenagers of Silicon Valley.”

For example, in the wake of the Paradise Fire in November, one community post featured a compilation of four memes, the first using the “You vs. the guy she told you not to worry about” meme format comparing the air qualities of San Jose and Chico. The post’s caption credited the users who submitted each meme and asked followers to consider donating to fire relief.

Even with the success of the page, posts have been few and inconsistent recently. The original creators are no longer regularly associated with the account due to personal responsibilities. With only one manager creating posts, other commitments and writer’s block interfere with regular content.

“It's hard to be consistently funny in front of so many people all the time, and I don't want to post anything that doesn't meet the standard established by the previous founding admins,” the current manager said. “I am currently working on expanding our admin team beyond just myself, and hope to bring you all more quality memes in the future.”

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