Seizing the memes of production: Instagram seeks a ‘unicorn’ expert to connect with the kids
Instagram booted the meme accounts from its platform last month, allegedly for violating its terms of service. The accounts had tens of millions of followers combined, and earned their teenage owners thousands of dollars on the side through paid promotions, but had been accused by Instagram of spam, and by users of profiting off stolen content.
Now, the company is looking to hire a “Strategic Partner Manager” to work with “emerging media publishers” – a description that tech site Cnet takes to mean “meme makers.” Working directly with the creators, the new manager will help Instagram selectively promote the memes it thinks teens want to see, or the memes it wants them to see.
“It will be so important for a person in this role to connect more deeply with the teen accounts and other accounts we’re not aware of,” Instagram’s head of news and publishing partnerships Lila King told Mashable Australia. King described the ideal candidate as a “unicorn,” who’s “equally fluent in the language of memes and the business of digital publishing.”
In short, Instagram’s new meme policy is all but guaranteed to be top-down and ham-fisted. Making matters worse, the job posting asks for a candidate with more than ten years’ experience in media and publishing, essentially ruling out anyone below the age of 30. To an audience of meme-hungry teens, 30 might as well be prehistoric.
An organic form of communication, memes tend not to take well to centralization. Corporations using them to promote their products are ridiculed online, and conventional media outlets are often late to take notice of popular memes. Even the Instagram meme accounts themselves often rip off anonymously created content after the fact.
With the battle for the memes of production raging, true, anonymous creativity keeps escaping the big authority, be it on internet cesspools like 4chan or other subversive sites, and Instagram’s digital publishing team seem to be missing out by trying to control it on its platform.
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