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Ella Agoos: the story of NU’s ‘meme queen’

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Ella Agoos: the story of NU’s ‘meme queen’

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By Alyssa Lukpat, news staff

Some call her Northeastern’s “meme mom.” Others recognize her in the grocery store, shout “meme queen” and run away.

But her name is Ella Agoos, and she is the creator of the NU Meme Collective, a secret Facebook group for Northeastern students to share memes. Agoos, a third-year sociology and anthropology combined major, created the group in October 2016 while she was “stoned in [her] dorm,” according to a post in the group from Oct. 23, 2017. Now, Agoos’s job maintaining a group of more than 15,000 Northeastern students has made her a campus celebrity.

“I had no idea it was going to get big. I added a bunch of friends and mutual friends and thought it would be a funny thing,” she said. “It blew up within a couple months, which I wasn’t foreseeing at all.”

When Agoos couldn’t think of a name for her new Facebook group, she called it the first name she thought of. She was planning on changing the title of the group, but when she heard people talking about the NU Meme Collective on campus, she decided to keep it.

“The first name idea that came into my mind was this communist, egalitarian form of sharing memes,” Agoos said. “And it just worked.”

At a university as big as Northeastern, Agoos thinks Facebook groups like hers create a feeling of unity that is often missing on campus.

“There have been some really good Northeastern memes that really encapsulate specific parts about the Northeastern experience, and I really appreciate that,” she said. “Especially in a school so large, it can often be alienating to not know anyone here. It’s a really great, communal way to share our Northeastern experience in a really big group.”

Ella Agoos created the NU Meme Collective during a burst of creativity in October 2016. / Photo by Casey Martin

Agoos says she doesn’t spend much time moderating the group these days because members do a good job regulating themselves. But when the group first started, she was overwhelmed with responsibility as she verified thousands of people who requested to join. Sara Atlas, a fifth-year psychology major, messaged Agoos on Facebook last year and said she wanted be a moderator.

“It was expanding quickly and Ella was really stressed out about it, so I offered to help vet people back when we had to accept every single person,” Atlas said. “Basically we checked if they went to Northeastern or not, but some of the accounts were very clearly white supremacist pages. It’s weird, the kind of accounts that used to request to get in.”

While the NU Meme Collective moderators don’t allow certain controversial users to join the group, members still debate contentious issues. However, Agoos says she won’t tolerate bullying in the group.

“I like political discourse, it’s healthy. But when people start name-calling, that’s where I draw the line and cut it off,” she said. “I’m biased and I’m a human being. I’m very leftist in terms of my ideology. I don’t moderate perfectly but I do my best.”

Agoos occasionally posts in the group to establish rules and communicate with the 15,000 members she manages. When the fall semester began, Agoos posted a message to all the new students.

“Welcome freshmen! I sincerely hope you enjoy your first year of training to become a cog in the capitalist machine,” she wrote. “Please enjoy the memes as we all suffer together! Xoxo, your friendly neighborhood gay commie meme page admin.”

The NU Meme Collective has led to the creation of several other online communities. Agoos, who identifies as bisexual, started a Facebook group for Northeastern LGBTQA+ students.

A meme of President Joseph E. Aoun resembling Harry Potter. / Photo courtesy Sarah Schmidt

“I made a spin-off group for LGBTQ kids on campus called ‘Big Gay,’” she said. “It’s a nice, big queer community with memes, support group type things, housing recommendations and life advice. It’s become a really nice, cohesive group for Boston queers. I’m really glad I found my queer family and I can be my full gay self.”

Atlas’ favorite meme in the NU Meme Collective was when a student posted screenshots of conversations Northeastern parents had in a different Facebook group.

“People thought that was really funny: moms being concerned and bad at using the internet,” she said. “But someone told a mom and the moms started getting really angry and thought we were all delinquents or something. It was kind of ridiculous.”

Juliana Dinardo, a second-year health science major, thinks the NU Meme Collective allows students to voice their frustrations about Northeastern.

“They can say it in a funny way,” she said. “It’s a comedic outlet and a lot of people in the meme collective have something to relate to. People bond over hate; it brings people closer.”

Northeastern students don’t need to worry about the fate of the “NU Meme Collective” once Agoos graduates. She plans to finds another student to pass it on to in a few years. Agoos said she is happy people enjoy her Facebook group, but she is amused that some group members recognize her on campus because she doesn’t see herself as a celebrity.

“I think I’m very normal and boring, but sometimes people get really excited when they see me,” she said. “People can always say hi to me, because I’m very weird and I’m not going to judge them. I’m a normal person, I just made a meme group.”

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Ella Agoos: the story of NU’s ‘meme queen’