This semester, the Samford student body has seen a rise in Samford-related meme accounts on Instagram, like @samford.affirmations and @samfordbarbz.
Samford Affirmations stepped onto the scene with its first post on June 20, 2021. Since then, the account has created 55 posts and amassed 1,185 followers.
In modern new age thought, the word “affirmation” refers to the process of manifesting your desires by speaking your dreams as if they were already true. Affirmation meme accounts evolved from this practice by creating caricatures of the often corny affirmations posted on various social medias. These meme posts, rather than legitimately reflect a belief in manifestation, serve as an outlet for people to discuss and bond over hardships faced in their daily lives.
Samford Affirmations, whose creator remains anonymous, told the Crimson through an Instagram DM interview that they got the idea to start the account from seeing affirmation meme accounts at other universities.
“I started samford.affirmations over the summer when I saw a few other affirmation pages for different colleges. I thought it would be funny to start one for Samford because no one else had done it yet,” the content creator behind Samford Affirmations said.
Samford Affirmations gained popularity by appealing to a sense of community through creating memes relating to Samford culture. For example, one affirmation, which reads, “The idea of ring before spring is very realistic for me,” refers to the idea of getting engaged before the spring of one’s final semester. This practice is quite popular at many Christian universities, including Samford. Another says, “I won’t die on 280,” referring to the hectic traffic on Highway 280 near campus that induces anxiety in many students.
Because the memes are about Samford, Samford Affirmations gains inspiration from two places: experiences in the daily life of being on campus and other Samford students.
“Sometimes I’ll just be walking around campus and get ideas for affirmations from random things,” Samford Affirmations’ creator said. “I have my DMs open so anyone can send me ideas/ requests. A large majority of my inspiration comes from those!”
For the creator of the Samford Affirmations Instagram page, the joy of running the account comes from seeing people laugh, and the popularity of their page has taken them by surprise.
“I’m so surprised at the popularity of Samford Affirmations! I definitely did not expect to gain the followers that I did, but I’m so happy about it,” the creator said. “I love seeing the reactions from people to my posts. I really enjoy making people laugh and finding common ground over Samford niche things.”
Another popular meme account, @samfordbarbz, is Samford’s student-run Niki Minaj fan account.
As is the case with the Samford Affirmations page, account runner Emma Vanzant explained that she got the idea for Samford Barbz from another university.
“I got the idea because I have a friend that goes to Emory and they have EmoryBarbz and that’s a big thing there,” Vanzant said. “It’s really funny and I thought it would be interesting if I tried to start something like that at a mostly conservative and Christian university.”
Together with students Jessa Ripley, Maddox Gates and Mary Parker, Vanzant creates memes involving Nicki Minaj at Samford University. In addition, the account runs “Barb of the Month” awards that nominate student members of their community that embody the values of Nicki Minaj. Ideas for the page come from the account executive committee called the “Barb Board” and a GroupMe with around 100 students that contribute ideas.
The community of Samford Barbz actually held an in-person meet up on the Quad on Sept. 23 at 3 p.m. Since then, the Samford Barbz has met a few times on campus.
Vanzant explained that she was nervous for the first meeting, but enjoys seeing the in-person representation of the community that she has helped build.
“The first one was kind of scary to do because I wasn’t so sure if people would show up but people in fact did!” Vanzant said. “It was really fun — all we did really was just blast Nicki Minaj music, dance and make friends. I love doing it honestly.”
Vanzant discussed the future of Samford Barbz.
“As of now, we’ve talked — kinda in a jokingly way — about the idea of becoming an official club but honestly it would be cool,” Vanzant said. “We also have been planning a giant Christmas meet-up so I’m excited for that!”
To follow the evolution of these meme accounts, visit @samford.affirmations and @samfordbarbz on Instagram.