What do you meme? A Q&A with “dank new rand memes” creator Phillip Goldberg

The group now has thousands of students

Photo provided by dank new rand memes

Dank new rand memes is a Facebook group that was started last semester by current junior Phillip Goldberg. The group posts user generated content, which consists of Vanderbilt related photos and memes.

Vanderbilt Hustler: What inspired you to start the page?

Phillip Goldberg: The Vanderbilt community is like a multiverse, in the sense that there are so many weirdos just spread out at Vanderbilt,and they don’t have a means to connect with one another. And that’s what I wanted to do. When I first started the group, I picked the funniest people I knew and I said you find the funniest people you know, you put them in, you get them started on this. You know, it brings the community together through memes and sharing ideas of different communities and bringing up different perspectives.

VH: Did you expect the group to take off the way it did?

PG: There was a very calculated plan. I knew that when Facebook groups start, no one wants to join it if there isn’t anything in it…. So I just started making simple memes, I just started throwing memes in the group, and I would take memes from other pages and start throwing them in, because I had no time and it was also finals week. But then, it took off because I showed people that I was vulnerable enough to post the stupidest things… you can’t just have one person posting in the group, that’s no fun, that only has one perspective. I want to have a lot of perspectives on different issues that are funny and enjoyable for the Vanderbilt community.

VH: What do you think about some of the more politically charged memes that have been posted?

PG: I think it’s so important that if you have an opinion and you feel like this opinion is important for Vanderbilt students to hear and share, turn that into a meme, send it out, let people know how you’re feeling and let people know this is important for other people to hear. I think it’s so important that we stay on that track of, it’s always funny, it’s always appointed a meme group, there should be no agenda with it, but you should be able to post things without feeling like you’re not supported by me. I support all that, I think it’s great that we’re talking about it because it starts the dialogue.

VH: What is the administrative process for the group?

PG:  We have ten admins, we have like 15 moderators. Moderators add and remove members, but no one’s getting removed, but admins will look at posts. I’m also in a couple admin chats for like framework for different types of trends that go on. There’s a lot of planning behind it that goes on that people don’t realize. I meet with my friends, Karina Schechter and Constance Du, they actually both are my residents, so I go to their room and we talk it out and we meme it out, we see what we can make for the week’s trend. We’re trying to create content that’s enjoyable for the Vanderbilt community and some sort of, I guess it’s lowkey escapist from the climate and the world media of today, we just need something to relax with and take a deep breath and look at stupid memes and I hope I can create that content for people.

VH: What would you say to someone who doesn’t like memes or doesn’t understand their value as you do?

PG: I would ask them what their hobbies are, what they find funny, what they find important, and I would implore them to look at different links on facebook that cater to their own community and cater to that type of thought. The downside to that is when you cater to your own thoughts through memes, it can radicalize some opinions, it can take fringe opinions and turn them into mainstream opinions and it create an echochamber of people who probably need more perspective. So I like the fact that it is a meme group with 3000 people, I don’t like the fact that we just need more representation from different people who don’t interact that much with the majority of the Vanderbilt campus and are kind of like secluded.

VH: What do you see for the future of dank new rand memes?

PG: I mean if it dies out, that’s fine, I’ve had a lot of fun this past month. I see it as a forum for Vanderbilt students to express their opinions and just [mess] around, like anything that happens on campus i hope someone makes a meme about it. And I just want people to come together in it, find solidarity with one another. There’s also a lot of cool things, like people posting publicly about their mental health issues in the group in forms of a meme. Yes the meme masks the root of the problem, but people find solidarity with those posts because it’s like this group can bring, you don’t even have to like it you can just see it and feel that connection with that certain situation that you maybe have never talked about with a friend or something. I want that also to be a huge part, like people’s problems that they don’t like to face, that they don’t like to talk about, can be brought up in a constructive way.

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