BYU Memes has grown in popularity since it first started out in 2012. The humorous Facebook page has more than 40,000 followers and posts new Mormon-themed memes daily.
Most of the memes are posted by the page’s followers, and many members of the Latter-day Saint community see memes in their Facebook news feeds that originate from BYU Memes.
BYU computer science alumni Jeffrey Meadows has been an administrator for the BYU Memes page since 2012. Meadows said the BYU Memes page was originally started by three BYU students that same year. Those students began posting their own Mormon-themed meme creations, and the page quickly gained followers from that point on.
“I don’t think I ever would have expected it,” said Justin Pumford, a founder of BYU Memes.
Pumford said he’s happy about the page’s growth even though he is no longer an administrator for the page. He said the page brings happiness while increasing awareness of current issues and trends. Meadows agrees with Pumford and believes the purpose of the page is to deliver light-hearted humor to a Mormon audience.
“The purpose of the page is to depict BYU and LDS culture in a humorous light. It’s all comedy to show ourselves that we’re human and have a sense of humor,” Meadows said.
Meadows said the most shared memes are often General Conference-themed and are posted around the time of each conference. During the most recent April 2016 General Conference, the page’s reach spiked from around 15,000 daily viewers to 142,381 on April 3, according to Meadows.
BYU Memes relies heavily on meme contributions from its Facebook followers like senior English language student Kayla Echols, who began contributing memes to the page before she graduated high school. Some of her memes have even been featured in the page’s gallery of “most popular” memes, based on overall shares and likes.
Echols said one of the things she likes best about making her own memes is seeing how many “likes” she can accumulate.
“I enjoy seeing quantifiable proof that people enjoy something I’ve created,” Echols said.
She said making memes for a Mormon audience can be “a little touchy” at times, but feels that often comes with trying to be funny in any given situation. BYU Memes administrators sometimes receives requests to take down memes from the page, in which case they carefully consider the context of the post and whether it is appropriate for their audience.
“There are some topics that aren’t ever funny, and there are some that are funny to non-Mormons but not to Mormons, and then there are some that only Mormons find funny or understand, and I think it’s a question of knowing your audience,” Echols said.
It hasn’t been difficult for Echols to make memes for a Mormon audience because she grew up in a strongly dominated Mormon culture. Both of her parents also grew up in the Provo area, making it easier for Echols to come up with Mormon-themed jokes in her memes.
“What I hope people take away from seeing my memes is mostly just a laugh or a smile,” Echols said.