alicia girl on laptop tip sheet photo

Social media has sparked many debates. The infamous dress and brainstorm/green needle debacle were viral debates in the past five to 10 years. However, NC State students are now creating their own cultural debates and trends, such as “to drink milk, or not to drink milk.” 

This debate has sparked the formation of two Instagram accounts, @ncsu_proud_milk_drinkers and @glassofmilkncsu. @glassofmilkncsu exposes people for drinking glasses of milk, whereas @ncsu_proud_milk_drinkers supports and uplifts people who drink milk. These two accounts, however, are just the tip of the iceberg. 

Grant Bollmer, an associate professor in the department of communication, explained that social media often makes a bad name for itself, but “social media is all media.”

“Social media brings people together,” Bollmer said. “It’s a throwback to western modernity; people discussed the news and formed communities around news and journals and magazines. Social media today follows that structure.”

A plethora of new Instagram accounts have popped up since the start of the semester, such as @ncsu_grubflubs. Despite having the idea as a freshman, the third-year student running the account didn't create it until two weeks ago. @ncsu_grubflubs posts pictures of abandoned GrubHub tickets, which brings “lots of laughs and encourages clean up.”

“It brings people together through caring about the health of the NC State campus,” they said.

Another account, @ncsu_memes, hit the ground running in fall 2018. The fourth-year running the account was inspired by a friend, and the account began as a way to “pass time and make some jokes.” Their favorite aspects of running the account include plugging into campus and helping advertise clubs.

This is not to say there aren’t downfalls to running parody accounts.

“Some people take things personally,” @ncsu_memes said. “I don't try to tell jokes at an individual’s expense. People tell me what to say and do.”

Another account, @i_rate_chairs, is run by a second-year who’s had the account for roughly a year. They started the account simply because they wanted to have fun 一 because there are tons of chairs on campus, they have no trouble coming up with new content and even accept submissions from followers. 

“It is hard to try and be professional while having fun at the same time,” @i_rate_chairs said. “It’s all about balance.”

@weratencsuanimals, run by two second-year students, has been around for a month. Both have a passion for wilderness. They started the account when one of them saw a squirrel outside of Park Shops and realized that there was no Instagram account for NC State’s campus critters.

“[We love] getting to see what other people find around campus that they find interesting,” @weratencsuanimals said. “We get a lot of dead bird images. @foundonthegroundncsu sent us a dead bird picture.” 

There is a lot of communication between the parody accounts. @weratencsuanimals explained that there is a group chat for all of the instagram accounts, which is a community in itself. That group has a greater understanding of each other’s success given they know the effort it takes to run these accounts.

“You don’t have to be that invested in consuming media, but you must be invested in producing it,” Bollmer said.

This is true of anyone running and following a parody account. Hours of work go into running these accounts, but only takes a few seconds for followers to view, read the caption, like and continue on with your day.