Memes Leave Lasting Impressions

A meme is an idea with spreading power symbolizing an element of culture usually expressed through text and graphics. Gleick states, “memes are complex units, distinct and memorable–-units with staying power (Gleick, 2011).” Memes combine current culture with humor packaged in a visual.

While memes utilize humor, they should be taken seriously. Memes can be seen as a reflection of current society and leave a lasting impression. Roger Sperry says “[i]deas cause ideas and help evolve new ideas (Gleick, 2011).” In this sense, memes are embedding ideas in the mind of the public and helping to evoke new ones.

In this example, an early meme is used to discuss the current political climate. This particular meme is used to represent unfortunate situations that are out of one’s control. World War III may be no joke, but the Twittersphere can relate to Trump’s out of context and questionable tweets.

In another example, a meme is used to create a discussion about climate change. It also integrates popular culture use of “boomer” to direct its audience at Millenials or Gen-Z. While the meme discusses a serious issue and the lack of consistent opinions on the topic, it also brings in humor to capture the audience.

In each of these examples, a serious topic is used as a meme in order to create awareness and lasting impressions on the public. Memes are a current way of discussing important topics and fostering community with humor.



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Julia Roberts as Harriet Tubman?

In regards to the recent controversy, Hollywood executive pitching that Julia Roberts should have played Harriet Tubman in a movie, people did not respond well. On Twitter, many expressed their opinion regarding this issue. There were two different takes on how people decided to respond: take offense or make a joke out of it.  Some people simply laughed at the ridiculous pitch, while others expressed that they were absolutely appalled by this.

Under the #JuliaRoberts, some people cracked jokes such as putting her face on the 20 dollar bill.

Again, a man joked about the matter, suggesting the controversy as a “game”.


Most of the responses, however, showed that they did not take this as a laughing matter. People expressed that they feel this is racist and touched on the underrepresentation of African American women in Hollywood.


People find this to be so upsetting that a Hollywood executive would suggest this. There are so many powerful, and talented African American actresses out there that could represent their ancestors in a way that Julia Robert’s couldn’t. Poor Julia for getting dragged into this!





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Viral Content Challenge

For my viral meme, I decided to use a public figure who is known to say whatever is on his mind that is found to be both relevant and good points, but also funny in a way. Kanye West is a musician and public figure that is known to speak his mind. The fact that he is a global icon also gave the meme more relevancy because people immediately know what kind of content he posts or who he is. I thought to use something about social media because almost everyone who is on Imgur uses social media and could maybe relate to the content the meme hints at. Originally, I posted my meme on Twitter, and followed up with a retweet after 3 days. Then, I posted on my instagram for the class, and actually received a message from a meme account saying they found my meme great! What worked for me to promote my meme was sending the link to my friends through groupme, (a communication group app), sharing the link on my main instagram account, and tweeting it to my personal twitter account. The objective was to get a reaction from anyone who saw. I noticed my view count and up arrow count grew after I had posted the link onto my Facebook as well as my main instagram account. I had a little bit of issues with sending the link to people, as I got many responses saying they cannot access the up arrow feature because many people did not have a Imgur account. But, this did help my view count go up regardless. Using hashtags such as #meme, #funny, #lol and #imgur may have helped my Imgur meme become more relevant and viewable to others looking for some funny memes.

Imgur link below

lonely boy hours 

Total views: 361

Up arrows: 9

I received 9 up arrows on my meme, and on Twitter I received a like from someone I do not personally know or follow. Since creating my original meme, this was the third and final. I had put my first image on Imgur and people seemed to not get it as much as this meme. I chose this meme because it received the most positive reactions from those I know personally and those I do not. What I would have done if I had to redo the assignment is create my first original meme that doesn’t necessarily align with my own personal humor (which is dry and sarcastic) to something that a broader more general crowd could understand in order to gain more positive traction.



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Above the Influence: How I Grew My Twitter Following

One of my goals as a journalist is to get my work out to the most people I can. In order to expand my influence, it’s important for me to analyze my followers and tweets to determine which messages resonate with people. So, this is my analysis of the last 91 days of Tweeting.

Part 1: Influence

At the start of the class, I had 97 followers on my professional social media account that I had started in September of 2017. I decided to tweet from the account @jeffersonfenner for this class. From August 29th to November 28th, my account grew to 128 followers, an increase of 31.9%.

Many of my followers were fellow Syracuse students or random accounts associated with topics I was tweeting about. However, I did make some interesting pick ups in terms of relatively famous and verified people.

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I’m not sure why this person decided to follow me, however, we have six shared followers, so it’s possible he found me through there.

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Mr. Scholten was the Democratic candidate for Iowa’s 4th Congressional District running against embattled Republican Rep. Steve King. I work for CitrusTV and did a comprehensive coverage of 25 house races to watch and included his race in my list. I tweeted out my work and I imagine he followed me on Election Day.

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Jill Konopka was my favorite reporter from back home in Connecticut. She recently moved to Albany after working in the Nutmeg State for ten years. I tweeted out a thank you to her, and she liked my tweet, replied, and followed me back.

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Living in Connecticut has made me a big-time UConn Huskies basketball fan (even while I’m still here in Syracuse). Chris Smith played at UConn from 1988-1992 and became the school’s all time leading scorer before eventually getting drafted to the Minnesota Timberwolves. I followed him while watching a UConn game and he followed me back the next day.


I found that most of my followers found me through similar interests, topics, and hashtags . In order to grow my following in the future, I have to continue with these methods. Times where I didn’t gain any followers were when I wasn’t overly active on my account, so I have to make sure to continue to tweet in order to get a larger influence.


Part 2: Execution

Each of the following tweets are ranked on a scale from 1-10 based on number of impressions. For my top ten tweets, my average number of impressions was 585.8; my average number of engagements was 21.1 and my average engagement rate was 6.5

  1. A Bavarian Reply:

I replied to the account for FC Bayern Munich, my favorite soccer team and one of the most popular clubs in the world. After the team had a string of losses, I made this reply which garnered 1700 impressions. This was the most viewed tweet I put out this semester.

2. Tweets for a Cause: 

This tweet got 1678 impressions and eight engagements. This tweet was sent out during the height of the fires and the hashtags I used seemed to help increase my presence. I believe the biggest reason why this tweet was popular was because I tagged Charity Navigator, a website which ranks charities based on their trustworthiness. The account liked my tweet and replied with a link to promote their website, so we both got the engagement we needed.

3. The Buzz about Buzzfeed:

The NHBuzzfeed drop-in class was a popular event at Newhouse that happened in the middle of the school day. Not only was my target audience all engaged with the hashtag, but the event itself was heavily focused on social media. The tweet garnered   484 impressions, two likes, 25 engagements, and an engagement rate of 5.2%.

4. Sweet Victory:

I was the member of the wining team for our In Class Engagement challenge. To celebrate our victory, I posted this picture of Ally holding up our trophy. While this picture only got 430 impressions, it beat my all of my other tweets in likes (7), engagements (64) and engagement rate (14.9%).

5. Survey Says…:

When asking people how Prof. Grygiel is spending *their* Labor Day (sorry), they have a lot of interesting responses. As you can see, chillaxing won the hearts of the people, while I won 387 impressions, 42 engagements and a 10.9% engagement rate.

6. The Wheels on the Bus

I took a Twitter video centering around my morning commute to campus. The hashtags #syracuse and #morningcommute might have helped push this video up to 25 views and 378 impressions, while people clicking on the video helped get me to 14 engagements.

7. We’re Doing it Live

This was a simple promotion for a show that I work on with my fellow classmate Ally Heath. The show promotion got 3 likes, 307 impressions and 20 engagements for a rate of 6.5%

8. A Dog’s Tale

This was a thread tweet about the time I bought a soda for former UConn Huskies Women’s Basketball player Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis. I posted this tweet the night after her team, the Seattle Storm, won the WNBA championship.

The initial tweet only got one like, 197 impressions, and six engagements for a 3% engagement rate, which is why it is 8th on this list. However, when taking into account all three tweets in the thread, I got four likes, 487 impressions, and 18 engagements for a 3.7% engagement rate. The jump in impressions would put the whole thread 3rd on this list, however I’m only choosing to count the initial tweet for ranking purposes.

9. Mr. Fenner Goes to Albany

This tweet was timely, as we were less than a month away from the Midterm Elections. While this tweet did not stand out for its impressions (160), the use of the hashtags #MidtermElections2018 and #Election2018 helped bring in 18 engagements for an above average engagement rate of 8.1%.

10. The Devil Wears Hair Extensions 

Finally, I put this tweet on this list due to its high engagement rate. Like the tweet in the number 4 slot, this was posted during the In Class Engagement event. The tweet only got 137 impressions, but it received 17 engagements for a rate of 12.4%, so the lack of views helped increase that statistic.


Overall, I learned that becoming an influencer on Twitter is all about what you put into it. By creating smart, relatable, and timely content, you are more likely to reach a wide audience. By taking this course, I realized I can promote my content in a variety of different ways, through use of popular and relatable hashtags, or incorporating elements like polls and media into my posts. By going the extra mile, I can gain the views and engagement I want and my social media accounts will thank me for it.

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Viral Marketing Report

Stefanie Grafstein

Professor Grygiel

November 29th, 2018

Viral Marketing Report

The Tweet

Statistics (as of November 26th, 2018)

  • Impressions: 214
  • Total Engagements: 41
  • Detail Expands: 37
  • Likes: 4

Goals and Objective

My goals were not achieved, as my tweet did not go viral. When reaching out to other popular Twitter pages in hopes of getting retweeted, I was happy to see a direct message response from Google Fonts which was one of the main accounts that I was looking to target because of the “font humor” behind my tweet. I believe that by promoting my tweet through Reddit and direct message of meme and font accounts, I was able to strive close to the 250 impression goal that my set for myself having reached 214 impressions. I set the goal to have at least twenty re-tweets and due to my lack of Twitter followers, I found that this was an unrealistic achievement to reach.


I found that posting my tweet on subreddits that were based on font humor and memes, I was able to give my content great exposure. While my tweet was not retweeted by anyone, based on my findings it still made impressions. In addition to this, I also learned a lot about Reddit, a platform I had never used before. I chose to use Reddit as a platform to promote my tweet because after evaluating other popular memes, I have found this website to be the source for contributing to the virality of content.

Analysis of Execution

When trying to promote my tweet, I was unable to get it retweeted. I feel that if I was able to have the tweet retweeted by a Twitter user that a had a greater following, it would have been possible to receive more engagements. When trying to promote my tweet through Reddit, I believe that if I had a stronger understanding of how to use it I think my comments would have been more effective. With this said, I think that it was extremely helpful to be exposed to Reddit for one of the first times. While I found my Tweet to be humorous, it is possible that my Tweet did not appeal to the mass audiences needed to make it go viral. I believe that my humor would have only thrived in a certain type of online communities like reading and writing groups opposed to the meme and font humor groups that I tried to target.

Tweet inspired by a tweet:

After sending my tweet to twelve different meme and professional Twitter accounts, I was lucky to receive a humorous response from Google Fonts, which is a verified account under the Google brand. Google Fonts responded to my Tweet “Fontastic”, which inspired me to create a new tweet with the hopes of it going viral. Below please find an image of the Tweet and its statistics.

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  • Impressions: 113
  • Total Engagements: 13
  • Media Engagements: 10
  • Likes: 2
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Viral Content Challenge #NHSMC

The challenge was to “go viral”! In the world of social media, memes take over the internet and my goal was to create a meme that did just that.

My objective was to:

  • Reach over 500 views on Imgur
  • Get at least 50 likes on Instagram
  • Get at least 30 retweets on twitter
  • Gain at least 10 more followers on both Instagram and twitter

Meme-Imgur Campaign

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Twitter Webcard Tweet

Twiter Ads Engagement and Spend

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My strategy was to use Imgur, Instagram, twitter and Facebook. Before I started the campaign, I had 26 followers on twitter and 61 followers on Instagram. At the end of the campaign, I had 29 twitter followers and 76 Instagram followers. I didn’t reach my goal for twitter, but I did achieve my goal for Instagram. I posted the meme on Instagram and twitter and I got a total of 13 likes on Instagram and 4 retweets on twitter. Even though I didn’t reach my engagement goals on these platforms, I am still happy with the result considering the ratio of followers I have.

When trying to have high engagement, I found that hashtags were important to use and the most helpful. Another way I tried to gain engagement for my meme was through Instagram stories. I made a few stories promoting my meme or my twitter to gain attraction to my account. I think the reasons for the results ending with mediocre engagement was due to having a broad audience. I found this to be true as in the past when I would make posts for a more specified target like college students, I found I had a higher engagement. Therefore, by not using the specific hashtag “college” in imgur, that took away some engagement. My goal on imgur was to reach at least 500 views however, I ended with a total number of 300 views on Imgur.

I ran a twitter campaign from November 6 to November 7 with a budget of $5.00. My objective was to get as many tweet engagements as I could with that budget. I ended up getting 630 impressions(total number of all the times the tweet has been seen) and 28 tweet engagements(the total number of times a user interacted with my tweet).




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The LGBT News Trend in Buzzfeed News

Buzzfeed News is a Facebook page dedicated to reporting news to the general public, especially Buzzfeed fans. The page launched in 2013 and has more than 2 million likes and more than 3 million followers.

In the past three months, the greatest trending topic on Buzzfeed News’ page was a video episode from Queer Vision, a FB Watch show by Buzzfeed LGBT.

Confused yet?? Let us break it down for you.

Queer Vision Original Post

“Nathan Mathis Is Fighting For Rights His Daughter Never Had” was posted on July 31, 2018. The video originally aired on Queer Vision, a Facebook watch show that falls under the BuzzFeed LGBT Facebook page. The show puts emphasis on trending news and culture pieces about the LGBTQ+ community.

The Buzzfeed News Facebook page shared this particular episode of Queer Vision, and received massive interaction.

Buzzfeed LGBT was founded in 2012. Their mission is to inform people about queer news. It has more than 850 thousand likes, and more than 870 followers. It’s interesting to note that this Facebook page existed prior to that of Buzzfeed News. This goes to show the importance/relevance of LGBT News to the Buzzfeed audience, and helps begin to explain why the post was so viral, which will we get more into later.

What’s the post about? 

Presented in a documentary style, “Nathan Mathis Is Fighting For Rights His Daughter Never Had” is a video that tells the story of Nathan Mathis, whose daughter committed suicide. Mathis made it his life goal to fight for the LGBT rights his daughter never had. The video was produced after the story of Mathis blew up and was featured on talk shows like The View and The Ellen Show. The video discusses the mental health toll of loved ones following suicide and Mathis’s goal to spread awareness.

The Format

Buzzfeed News Re-Post

The  video is subtitled word for word in BuzzFeed’s clean Proxima Nova typeface. This is optimized for the Facebook user’s feed because the video will autoplay and viewers will be able to understand the video even if they aren’t listening with sound. This use of subtitles hooks viewers, especially because the video opens with Nathan Mathis using bold words like “pervert” and “gay”.

The thumbnail is also optimized for the platform with a split screen showing a young Patti Sue and her aged father. When touching on the topic of suicide, showing a childhood photo of the deceased tugs right at a viewer’s emotional heart strings. This is also used in contrast to her older, worn father. Her father is also typed as a “southern dad” in the video description and Nathan Mathis’s photo in this thumbnail captures that image.

The run time for the entire video is 4:02, which is optimized for the Facebook platform. As Emma Tyler, Senior Social Media Strategist at BuzzFeed, explained to the NH BuzzFeed class, videos hoping to make money off things like midroll ads only make money if they are over 3 minutes. This video is is long enough to qualify for ad money but not too long that viewers click off the video early.

Finally, the narrative format of this video was also important to its success. Tyler also told the class that the most successful stories often have a strong beginning, middle and end to push viewers through the entire run time, especially if they are read-along style. The narrative format of this video grabs the attention of viewers and keeps them emotionally invested in Nathan Mathis.

Breaking Down The Virality

Buzzfeed News Interactions

As BuzzFeed News was only established as a separate brand July 2018, we chose to look at over-performing posts from the last three months (Ha, 2018). Through our CrowdTangle search, we identified the Nathan Mathis video, posted on the BuzzFeed News Facebook page on July 31st, as the top performer (CrowdTangle, 2018).

Sharing was the top interaction Facebook users had with this post and accounted for its impressive virality of almost 16M views. However if we measured virality through Facebook reactions and comments, this post would perform the same as, if not significantly less than others in the same time frame (CrowdTangle, 2018).

Buzzfeed News Shares, Comments, and Interactions


Ha, A. (2018, July 18). BuzzFeed launches a new website for its real journalism. Retrieved October 27, 2018, from


Hailey Rene, Josie Hannum, Stefanie Grafstein,  Ariel Rabinowitz

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BuzzFeed- Trending Topics: Nifty Facebook Video

Trending Topic Project: Buzzfeed’s “Nifty” Facebook Video on Revamping a Basic Table

The “overperforming” post chosen for analysis was “Nifty’s” “7 Creative Ways to Transform a Basic Table” (2018), that spiked nearly a month ago. The six-minute video includes do-it-yourself, or D.I.Y., tutorials for how to transform an ordinary end table into 1) a table with a built-in projector, 2) a table with a built-in mini-garden in the middle, 3) a handmade toy kitchen, 4) an end table with a stained wood top, 5) a table with built-in water and food bowls for pets, 6) a stool and 7) a stacked bar with wheels on the bottom (Nifty, 2018). 

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According to the social media analytics database, CrowdTangle, this video was one of the highest spiking videos on the Nifty Facebook page from early September 2018 to late October 2018 (2018).

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The table transformation video received 1,478, 528 post views and 14, 951, 795 total views (CrowdTangle, 2018). Additionally, the table transformation video received 10,111 reactions, 828 comments and 4,813 shares (CrowdTangle, 2018). 

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In terms of why “Nifty’s” “7 Creative Ways to Transform a Basic Table” (Nifty, 2018) overperformed this fall, there are several reasons which could illustrate its high performance. Particularly, Buzzfeed’s audience, the importance of D.I.Y. culture and the real estate market are all reasons that could explain the virality of the table transformation video. Buzzfeed’s audience across their various channels are over 50% millennial and over 50% of the overall audience demographic self-identifies as women (Sternberg, 2013). Likewise, Buzzfeed’s “Nifty” channel specifically targets those interested in arts and crafts for the home. One reason this particular type of Nifty video may have performed well, is due to its publishing date, September 10, 2018, being during the middle of the “high season”, May- September, for apartment rentals (Schreck, 2013), as well as college students beginning school and needing cheap alternatives for decorating their dorms/ apartments.

Additionally, various Buzzfeed channels utilize the short-form video style for content delivery that can conveniently be viewed on one’s mobile device, which over 30% of Buzzfeed’s audience uses for visiting their sites (Sternberg, 2013). The combination of using short-form videos on the Nifty Facebook channel is advantageous in order to give the audience what they want. Similarly, using short-form videos on Nifty’s Facebook channel is advantageous because it taps into the popularity of D.I.Y. tutorials, especially as millennials are currently dominating the $29 billion crafting industry (Fromm). Therefore, a D.I.Y. short-form tutorial on how to ‘jazz-up’ a basic end table using an arts and crafts themed Facebook channel with one of the largest millennial audiences went viral because it had all the necessary components for virality. 

In summation, the “Nifty” Facebook video, “7 Creative Ways to Transform a Basic Table” (Nifty, 2018) was analyzed because it overperformed on the channel within the last three months. The video likely overperformed, or spiked, because it taps into a niche market who is overwhelmingly millennial and interested in D.I.Y. projects for furnishing homes. Likewise, this video’s success during this season may be due to the rush of people who are moving to new homes in order to take advantage of the real estate market during the fall. In conclusion, the success of “7 Creative Ways to Transform a Basic Table” indicates a desire to take basic household items and easily transform them according to the various ideas for home décor that millennials have. 




CrowdTangle. (2018). [Graph illustration for video views for Nifty September 2018 to October 2018]. CrowdTangle Intelligence: Page Report: Nifty. Retrieved on October 24, 2018 from,

Fromm, J. (n.d.) Generation y has become generation diy. Retrieved from

Nifty. (2018). 7 creative ways to transform a basic table. [Video]. Nifty. Retrieved on October 24, 2018 from,

Schreck, N. (2013). The Best Time to Move for Renters. Retrieved from

Sternberg, J. (2013). 13 interesting facts brands should know about BuzzFeed. Retrieved from


By, N’dea Drayton & Alexandria Haynes

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Authenticity: Is it Achievable on Facebook?

When going on Facebook, there is no doubt that your newsfeed will be ridden with a variety of different articles. The big question is: what is the truth? When I look at Facebook articles, I usually look at the sources. Washington Post, The New York Times, Business Insider, and other reputable news sources always get a further glance from me. On the contrary, if the article doesn’t show me any reputable sources then I don’t continue looking at it.

My search continues to check if the link is actually authentic instead of a proxy site that has the same name but is not the actual publication. If I check the link and it isn’t a normal link from the publication and write it off as fake news. International news is a bit more difficult, but I usually stick with sites that end in .org. What’s bad is that not many people take as much care to make sure that their news is real because Facebook is the land of contrived authenticity.

People use Facebook to create a perception of their life that they’d like others to think they have rather than the life they do have. If that contrived authenticity is used in their personal life and people don’t notice the farce about their own friends, then how can people distinguish real news from fake news? It’s hard to distinguish actual news from fake news as a voracious consumer myself. So, what about people who solely get their news from Facebook?

Hopefully this fake news phenomenon will slowly ween it’s way off Facebook and away from the susceptible public. To stop the fake news there has to be more reality on a platform whose biggest takeaway is that you can be whoever you want even if that person isn’t you at all. Read more about Facebook’s problem with authenticity here:





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