Garth Van Donselaar — Chief Editor
For the past handful of years, Dordt students have been seeking an internet medium to use for discussion, promotion and sharing of topics relevant amongst themselves.
One of the first examples was using the forum website Reddit. A subreddit (forum) called r/Dordt was created, but never took off, as there are only 25 posts on it. All but one being over four years old.
Facebook has also been used to try to build online interactions, with pages such as various Dordt Secret Admirers pages, Humans of Dordt, and Dordt Confessions pages which were also on Twitter. All of these pages had success, but suddenly stopped posting, probably due to the admins getting burned out.
To date, the most successful Dordt forum was on YikYak, an app where users could post and could interact with each other in a certain range. YikYak’s success spread to Dordt, where ideas, complains, and memes were regularly shared.
Unfortunately, a series of poor decisions made by YikYak’s creators lead the app to be shut down in May of 2016. Since then, attempts have been made to claim the popularity of YikYak.
Enter the Instagram pages.
The first one to spring up is Dordt Pranks, a page dedicated to showing off various pranks on campus. The three rules in the description of the page are: “can’t hurt anyone,” “can’t ruin possessions” and “can’t create a massive mess.”
Granted, these rules are followed loosely at best by the page’s admins, who have received criticism for their spotlighting of pranks. Dead animals in Covenant Hall, stolen cookie jars from The Commons and stolen Christmas trees are all featured on the page. Cookie jars have now been removed from The Commons as a result.
Admittedly, I give Dordt Pranks a little bit of pass, as there are good pranks showcased, but there are dangerous possibilities which may result.
My biggest gripe with other Instagram pages is the lack of good content. While I get an occasional chuckle from the humor or originality of Dordt Pranks, other pages struggle to do so, such as Dordt Memes.
Dordt Memes doesn’t seem to grasp the simple concept of what makes a meme a meme. Their original content takes a picture of a random Dordt student and slaps a crappy caption on the image.
Instead of taking a popular meme from a website known for their meme origins, such as Reddit or 4chan and putting a Dordt spin on it, Dordt Memes tries to force these pictures of random students as established meme formats.
Additionally, Dordt Memes is too lazy to properly make the meme well, so they simply put the caption on top of the image, meaning the audience sees the punchline first before the setup. It’s the opposite of how comedy works.
A proper reaction meme would have a caption in a separate white space above the picture. This is so the audience can read the caption, and then see the punchline in the form of the reaction pictured.
As for the captions, they are of typically of the lowest quality. One caption reads, “when a guy tries to mansplain your major to you,” on a picture of a girl looking annoyed. As a generic jab at politically correct culture, it’s terribly unfunny.
Since Dordt Memes is incapable of making good content themselves, they also accept submissions from others. One submission uses the Distracted Boyfriend format, with the boyfriend labeled as “Dordt College,” the girlfriend as “Northwestern College,” and the other girl as “University.”
It doesn’t make sense. Why would the girlfriend of Dordt be Northwestern in this context? If just “college” was written instead it would be a bit better, but this isn’t the case. Instead, we have a meme that is equally frustrating and nonsensical as it is bad.
Unfortunately, Dordt Memes isn’t the only Dordt meme page on Instagram. There is also Zesty Dordt Memes, which is thankfully better than Dordt Memes. Unlike the latter, the former has a grasp on meme structure.
A handful of posts on Zesty Dordt Memes are admittedly funny, especially when they are more Dordt specific. Few are mind-numbingly infuriating like Dordt Memes, although most posts ride a middle ground.
Barking up a similar tree, there’s another Instagram page called Dordt Starter Packs. This page has three posts, each appearing on January 20 and within an hour of each other. To sum up this page, I decided to put in as much effort as they did.
While Dordt Starter Packs (hopefully) remains inactive, both of the meme pages are desperation clawing for attention, each following a significant number of people as opposed to those who follow them.
I know I’m giving free publicity undeservingly to these pages. In return, I expect them to make better efforts and content for their pages. Dordt is a quality school, and it deserves quality memes.