The internet can be a sad and dreary place. In a time where our feeds are filled with reminders of what feels like an impending, yet chill, Armageddon, small pockets of the massive online black hole preserve communal sanity with a surprisingly effective, digital coping mechanism: memes. And Wholesome Memes — the anonymous-run, almost aggressively positive Instagram account — stands in direct contrast to more commonplace memes that are more snarky, depressing, or existentialist. The person behind Wholesome Memes, not to be confused with another similar account, shares original posts and user-submitted reposts from Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to create (and curate) a collection of pure, #relatable, unadulterated optimism about love and friendship. The FADER spoke with the person behind Wholesome Memes about this transformative corner of the internet, and the importance of celebrating life’s small joys.
Tell me about yourself.
I’m a 20 year-old English Literature major from Asia [using she/her pronouns]. I try to be as ambiguous as possible about my identity because I want everyone to feel comfortable opening up to me, if they have anything they’d like to share.
I love memes. What do you think they express?
I love memes, too! They’re a really cool part of internet culture. They’re so unpredictable and creative; I don’t think there’s anything that can’t be made into a meme. There’s also the sense of togetherness [that comes from them.] Like, whatever may be going on, you know there’s going to be a meme on it. And you’re not alone. It’s nice feeling like you’re a part of something.
When did you start Wholesome Memes? Why?
I had to scroll way back to find the answer to this. I made my first post on March 16, 2016 but I’m pretty sure [that] I set up the account a few days before that. The page is [almost] one-year-old! Originally, I started the account for a very impersonal reason; the username was available, so I took it. But that’s changed now [laughs]. Getting positive responses from people really made me want to [commit to it], to make them happier in this bright, little corner of the internet. I’m glad I stuck to it.
What’s the response to your account been like?
The reaction has been 99.9% positive! Which I think is great considering how [negative] things can be on the internet. My absolute favorite has been the messages I get through DMs. This one time, I got a long message from someone who had been feeling like things were just going downhill, but the page made them feel like it could get better [and motivated them to keep] working hard. That’s a great feeling! Sometimes, when I’m having a bad day, I get a DM from someone telling me how they’ve been struggling, [and how] the page made them feel happy, and that motivates me! It makes me super happy to know that I’ve helped someone or even made them smile, [even if only] for a second. That’s all I’m trying to do: spread light and positivity.
I don’t think that the Internet is necessarily a wholesome place, and neither is meme culture at large. Why do you think people are drawn to you and your content?
That’s the thing: for every wholesome meme, there [are] about 10 self-deprecating ones. And I won’t deny the fact that I’ve also felt less than wholesome on some days, and ‘related’ to the self-deprecating memes. But I’d much rather react positively to a happy post than a sad one. My favorite [wholesome] memes are the ones that have been very obviously edited to make them positive from their previous negative message.
Even if I’m posting two or three pictures in a day, that has an impact. You tag someone on the post, [and] you’re spreading positivity. I love going through the comments and seeing people’s reactions to being tagged by their friends. There’s so much love and appreciation, and I think that’s why people are drawn to it.