There are meme pages, and then there are meme pages.
Traditionally defined as “an image, video, or a piece of text that is rapidly shared by the internet, often with a slight variation”, meme culture has grown exponentially in a few years’ time with a humongous number of pages popping up on Facebook boasting a unique brand of humour and sarcasm pertaining to a target audience.
“A meme is a creative representation of things that all of us can relate to using movie or advertisement scenes,” defines Rahul Bala, final year Civil Engineering, and the page owner of the hit Facebook page ‘Ennama Ipdi Panringalae ma.’ Started a year and three months back, EIPM is one of Tamil Nadu’s leading meme pages with over 430,000 likes and regular visitors. Rahul spared a few minutes to answer our questions.
Q: So, did you think you hobby would blow up into this huge thing?
A: Certainly not! [He laughs] It was just the beginning of the ‘meme saga’ and mine was one of the first pages to blow up. I mainly used my experience in managing fan pages of actors Bobby Simha and Santhanam to bring out quality content and engage my audience.
Q: How do you think memes, and meme creators by extension have evolved?
A: Memes are becoming a huge cultural phenomenon these days, with the power to change the opinion of people - for good or bad. From being used for strictly entertainment purposes, memes today are widely used to discuss all topics these days - from politics and TN floods, to cricket matches and stand-up comedy. It’s certainly an interesting growth chart and it show that people are beginning to expect memes to cater to their levels of expectation.
Q: What do you think of it?
A: Honestly, I think it shows that meme creators and pages do have the power to influence decisions and that we are not just internet trolls. Memes have become such a huge part of our lives.
Q: Do you believe that marketing is an essential ploy to make a page successful?
A: Not really. Marketing plays a very small role, but the important aspects in running a meme page, - or any entertainment content page - are contents and page name. When you deliver quality consistently, people will begin to spread the word by themselves. Or, in Facebook terms, share it on their wall without sending them a private message begging them to.
Q: How long does it take for your page to get popular?
A: Again, it depends. People these days have simply stopped liking new pages just because they got an invite. Unless they like the kind of category and content your page has, getting likes is a hard uphill climb. I would advice to settle on a catchy page name and some creative content, the likes of which can’t be replicated.
Q: You must have a lot of rival pages. Is there some sort of cold war going on in the meme world?
A: No! [He sounds scandalised] We all use the same medium and appreciate each other’s contents. We take inspiration from each other and make memes of our own. Our main motto is to be entertaining and we don’t lose anything when we publicly appreciate our rivals by sharing their memes, do we?
Q: A brilliant sentiment. Your main domain is in entertainment. Do you think you can make a career out of this?
A: Actually, I already have started to. [He sounds both proud and embarrassed] I’m the manager at the entertainment based CEG start-up www.tamilglitz.in which reviews movies mainly. We’re generating good revenue by promoting quality films and we got ranked at 5k in Alexa India for top websites which is a great honour. We also secured the first spot in Google Reviews for three on four Pongal movie releases.
Q: That’s brilliant. Congratulations! Any last word of advice for meme creators?
A: Thank you. Memes influence people easily, so please concentrate on social awareness memes so that it reaches out easily. If you’re sharing something from other pages, please don’t remove the watermark.
The Guindy Times team wholeheartedly appreciates the time Rahul took in agreeing to this interview and wish him all success.
Related article: http://www.guindytimes.com/articles/internet-s-colour-pencils