As new facets of social media continue to develop with each passing day, its growing influence on the lives of people, especially young people, seems to be growing exponentially. This unique form of nearly instantaneous outreach and connectivity allows for content creators to share and reach groups of young people like never before. While social media can often foster toxic and negative environments for users, accounts like the increasingly famous “westchestermemes” Instagram page prove that social media can serve as a definitive outlet for both entertainment and a sense of community.
In general, an Instagram “meme account” curates and delivers dozens of relatable and humorous images and jokes to followers’ feeds every week, but Westchester’s own meme page has a different spin; the administrators for this page have a special focus on teenage living in Westchester County. The current account, dubbed “westchestermemes2.0,” currently has a respectable 7,200 followers under its belt. However, as the “2.0” in the name may suggest, this was not the original account for this page. Initially, the page was simply named “westchestermemes,” and boasted an astonishing twenty-five thousand followers at its peak. Unfortunately, according to the account creator, the page itself was hacked by an unknown user, forcing the owner to create a new page entirely. Given the page’s meager three months of existence prior to deletion, the rate of follower growth on this page can easily be seen as extraordinary due to the limited potential audience for the page’s content.
When asked what they credit for the account’s success, the account owner (who wished to remain anonymous) was quick to credit the page’s unique niche as a place created by and designed for Westchester teenagers.
“I think (the page is) something that all Westchester kids relate to and people love it because it seems so much more personal than the big meme pages,” the owner said via Instagram DM.
Many of the memes posted on the page poke fun at ideas or conceptions that only students attending Westchester schools could understand, creating a sense of relatability and community within the page’s group of followers. For instance, competitions hosted by the page, such as the current contest between Westchester schools and the quality of their lunch programs, promote a friendly sense of competition and banter in the comments between communities that may otherwise receive little contact between one another. Perhaps the greatest strength of the account is that content on the page is created by both the account creator and the page’s community, in which the account administrators take submissions from fans, and curate the best memes to post on the main page and its Instagram “story.”
As constant pressures placed on a students continuously revolve around them, a page like “westchestermemes2.0” can provide a necessary escape for students to relax, have a laugh, and relate to other suffering high schoolers in similar situations. Although supposedly founded due to a “love of Westchester county,” this page provides much more for students and serves as a testament to the potential of social media.