Senior discovers his passion through the internet

October 14, 2016 — by David Fan and Jay Kim

Senior Bryant Chang discovers his love for memes and their development.

Don't mess with memes.

That was the message thousands of people hoped to convey to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in August after the billionaire continually took down many meme pages, a process known as getting "zucced."

Senior Bryant Chang had never seen such unity for a common cause on the internet, motivating him to create his own meme page “Organic Memes 20% Off.” Facebook didn’t respond to their protest, Chang said, but he is still happy to have been part of this Facebook event.

Chang started browsing memes 10 years ago, when the first memes started appearing: “Trololololo guy,” a Russian singer who became famous for uniquely syllabic style of singing, and “This is Sparta,” an iconic scene from the movie “300.” He found himself amused by the popularity of these photo-text creations and was intrigued by the culture surrounding them.

When Chang joined Facebook in 2012, he became fully immersed in this world.

“I found a world of bizarre and ironic meme pages. I spent hours scrolling through pages upon pages of memes,” Chang said.

Throughout high school, Chang has used memes as a stress-relief tool, often looking forward to scrolling through new memes and creating his own on Facebook.

Chang also made connections with people who were similarly engaged in meme culture. Through his meme page on Facebook,  he met a fellow enthusiast from Thailand who enjoyed Chang’s posts. The two bonded over some of their favorite meme groups, such as “The Star Wars Meme Hive of Normies and Dead Memes,” a once-famous meme page flooded with posts of memes about Star Wars META (most effective tactic available) from its 4,000 members.

In addition to making his own meme page, Chang recommended a few songs to the well-known Facebook group called “>implying we can discuss music,” that was trying to create an alphabetical music playlist, complete with 26 song titles each beginning with a letter of the alphabet.

Chang laments that some people still do not see memes for the hilarious fun that they are. For instance, he said, certain instances of the meme Pepe, a cartoon frog, have been regarded as a hate symbol, though Pepe has always existed as a harmless internet joke.

“Our society needs to be more aware of meme culture,” said Chang. “[In a news coverage of Pepe’s story], only pictures of Pepe depicted in a derogatory way were shown, even though there are thousands upon thousands of Pepes not used in an atrocious manner.”

In the future, Chang hopes to create more original memes, but he does not have the editing software to do so now.

“I want to create a meme page that combines my love for memes and the humanities, so I can express my interest for memes in a creative way,” Chang said.

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