The Tulane Hullabaloo

Tulane freshman runs Meme Dream Team Instagram page with nearly 30,000 followers

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Many students use social media as a diversion, but few are able to gain much traction. One freshman at Tulane, however, has been able to build a successful meme page.

Julia Sterling, a freshman who wants to study computer science, music and linguistics, single-handedly runs the Meme Dream Team Instagram page, which currently has 28,272 followers.

According to Sterling, the meme page, now several years in the running, had humble beginnings.

“When I was 15, it was the summer, and I was bored with my friend, so we decided, ‘Let’s make a meme page,’” Sterling said. “And that’s why it’s called Meme Dream Team because there were [originally] two people. And after a week my friend got bored and quit basically, but I kept going with it, and then I started making my own stuff, and then it kind of started blowing up.”

Though the account started as a joke, its success was no accident. Sterling said for the first few days she would post five times a day, and she would reach out to the owners of other pages with few followers, offering to follow their page if they followed her page.

Campbell Lutz | Senior Staff Photographer

As the account’s success grew, Sterling said she did not actively try to draw attention to it. She did not link it to any of her personal social media accounts.

According to Sterling, her discretion worked at first, and only a few close friends knew about the meme page. Eventually, however, the secret got out.

“Instagram came out with this update where you got like analytics,” Sterling said. “To get that, you had to sign into your Facebook page. So I signed into my Facebook page and it sent an alert to every single one of my Facebook friends, Julia Sterling is now on Instagram as this. And so I was basically like, ‘Shit.’”

Sterling said she initially tried to deny her connection to the page.

“I got to school the next day and everyone was talking about it,” Sterling said. “People were like, ‘Julia, is this your meme page?’ And I was like, ‘Absolutely not, I don’t know why that’s happening.’ Anyway, eventually people figured out I was lying, so I posted on there, I was like, ‘Yeah, this is me, sorry about that guys.’ And so I was henceforth know as ‘meme girl.’”

The publicity was not entirely a bad thing. Sterling said she has made about $200 off of her page. Clothing companies, musicians and individuals on Instagram approached her and offered to pay her to post in exchange for a flat rate.

Sterling said the first advertiser who approached her was a Soundcloud rapper by the name of Official Bonafide.

“I was like really excited — this was like a couple years ago, I was like 16 — and I was like, ‘Wow,’” Sterling said. “So I advertised the guy, and then I actually went to the Soundcloud link, and I listened to it, and it was absolutely terrible. So when Soundcloud rappers approached me, I did not listen to their music anymore.”

Sterling said her rates for advertisements are $2 for an hour, $5 for 12 hours, $8 for a day and $10 for a week.

At Tulane, Sterling’s meme page has already generated interest among her friends. Freshman Colin Ford said he looks at the page once or twice a day.

“I love the page,” Ford said. “Julia often posts relatable memes that I personally find quite funny. Plus she includes little snippets of her life in the description that are quite amusing.”

According to Ford, meme pages such as Sterling’s serve an important purpose in society today.

“For me, memes are similar to the books, tv shows and movies that previous generations used to destress, but in comparison, memes are packaged in bite sized portions that can be easily understood,” Sterling said. “Overall, memes serve an important purpose in making the lives of those who see them just a little bit happier and stress free.”

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Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans
Tulane freshman runs Meme Dream Team Instagram page with nearly 30,000 followers