On Facebook and don’t know what Sri Lankan Memes is? The community page, created about 3 months ago, gets its roots from the meme culture currently seeing a huge emergence in social media. The often graphically illustrated snaps tell stories about the Sri Lankan way of life - humour first. Many memes take a political undertone, with cricket being the next big player. Popular figures also make a timely appearance, with music videos dissected piece by piece and popular catchphrases used.
Sri Lankan Memes was set up on February 26 by an enigmatic personality who goes by the name of JDS. A Sri Lankan expat studying and working in Toronto, JDS was more than a little homesick for a good dose of Sri Lankan humour. He set up the site for several reasons-localized memes were becoming more popular by the day, and the need for a platform where “the average Sri Lankan could present their view or ideas which had something to do with Sri Lanka in a way that everybody could understand and appreciate,” he says.
They’re thrilled with the response so far. “In the first 24 hours it was created with only a few memes uploaded, we reached 285 likes!’ In less than a week the page had hit 1000 likes, and now has over 19000 of them. A long way to come in just three months. They’ve even got plans to set up a website, exclusively for the memes.
In that first blush of stardom, JDS seemed to be handling things okay. But as he grins, “I have a life too.” So he contacted some of the page’s most dedicated fans, and asked them if they’d like to help with the running of the page. Potential admins were selected based on how active they were, whether they behaved in a respectable manner, and if they could make a contribution. The site now runs with the dedicated contributions of these admins, fascinatingly named to protect their anonymity.
PLD does the bulk of the moderating, translating and filtering. Fluent in all three languages spoken in Sri Lanka, he is quick to speak out when something goes wrong and is the site’s own version of a troubleshooting department.
AUS, an easily likeable character who gets along with everyone, is their PR man, due to his connections almost everywhere. AmSol is their reviewing and quality department; the lady who they say is the most diplomatic out of the lot.
SP is the site’s talent scout- he brings forward the best of memes for sharing, and is the most in tune with popular culture in Sri Lanka. Well said, as he is also the youngest out of the lot. R is a man very much behind the scenes, as he prefers to do most of the admin work rather than commenting on memes or trolling. He is referred to as the site’s civil department.
Graphic design is handled by an admin who goes as AA. Responsible for many of the custom designs created for SL Memes, AA together with L2PK (the IT man) handles the sites technical and creative design aspects. The legal brains behind the system, a lady appropriately known as ‘Madam’, helps with the copyrighting and legal aspect of things-very important when you run a site that is occasionally known to troll popular figures! She also helps One Love with the admin aspect of things.
Shiffani Refai is the only, and I do mean only, admin who is happy to forego the undercover job and openly declare herself an SL Meme admin. A university student studying in Delhi, she explains the basics behind admin work. “We try to keep the place hate-free, as least political as possible, and more relevant to Sri Lankan culture. It’s a space for Sri Lankans to network and have some good-natured fun!’