Monta Vista Memes
*In order to preserve the anonymity of the account’s spokesperson, they will be referred to as “Jane” throughout this story.
The friends were huddled in their usual lunchtime spot, looking over the popular South-Bay-based Instagram meme account, @siliconvalleyprobs, when one of them had an idea — one that would, in a few short months, become @montavistamemes, the most popular MVHS-themed meme account on Instagram.
Drawing inspiration from popular memes on Tumblr, Reddit and other social media platforms, the group behind @montavistamemes began the account in late September to little traction. During Homecoming week, however, memes posted about the altered schedule, skits and rally helped the account receive over 300 likes per post, propelling the account to its current 800 followers and counting.
The growing popularity of their account, however, hasn’t influenced the group’s creative process — they still make memes in reaction to the school’s current events — but they’ve realized that specificity to certain topics is what helped them reach their level of popularity.
“We found the first couple of [memes]to be a little more general,” Jane said. “Soon after homecoming, when we first started posting more specific [memes], that’s when we became more popular. So I guess we found what works. But, I wouldn’t say it changed how we make [the memes].”
Another factor in the account’s popularity and growth is its notoriety; all members of the account keep all aspects of their identity as secret as possible, refraining from revealing their names, grades and even the number of people managing the account (the range they told El Estoque is “less than ten, more than two” members). Their anonymity is a constant topic of conversation among students, who often try to guess the admins’ identities, often unsuccessful.
“It’s really fun to hear when people talk about it in real life, and when we’re sitting right next to them and they have no idea that it’s you so that’s the best part about it,” Jane said. “It’s really funny cause sometimes people will show me memes from the page and be like “Have you seen this yet?” And I’ll respond ‘No, haha, I didn’t see that yet, that’s so funny; I wonder how they came up with it.’”
Though the account tries to post multiple times a week, this goal often times proves difficult, because the stock of memes the group keeps may run out. Sometimes, students send the account direct messages with memes to post, along with various questions that the admins find funny.
“Our DM is always open, and when people send us stuff sometimes we post it, and we always ask people if they want credit for it or not, and most of the time people say they don’t,” Jane said. “We only get submitted memes like once every two weeks, but we get a lot of DMs asking us who we are. Most of the time they’re supportive and just people asking who we are or guessing who we are. It’s really funny.”
As for when they’ll stop running the account — and when they’ll reveal their identities — the members said they’re still thinking about what they’ll do once they graduate, but that they have plans.
“I think we’re planning to continue at least until we graduate, and then when we do [graduate], we’ll hand it off to underclassmen, and we’ll reveal ourselves,” Jane said. “We haven’t quite decided…we never really talked about it, we kind of just decided like hey, it would be funny if no one knew who we were, and that’s how it started. I guess we’ll figure it out as we go.”