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@in_ukraine_we_dont_say meme goes viral on Uanet. This is how it was created

The first post under the Instagram account @in_ukraine_we_dont_say was published on August 24, 2020. As of today, the account has over 50,000 followers. The posts are full of national color and mild Ukrainian humor; they collect tens of thousands of likes; users actively comment on them and spread them all over the Uanet.

AIN.UA’s editor has contacted the meme’s author (who chose to remain unnamed) administering the @in_ukraine_we_dont_say accounts on Instagram and Twitter and asked her about how she came up with the idea, how fast the community grows, and where she gets new ideas for her posts.


How the @in_ukraine_we_dont_say was born

I am an active Twitter user, that is my favourite social network. As for the “we don’t say” meme, it has been around on Twitter in different variations since long ago; it has had various flavors, ideas – some funny, some beautiful, curious, whatever – but there has been nothing about Ukraine there.

On the Independence Day of Ukraine, I tried to think up some cool tweet about the Ukrainian language; I fancied something beautiful and patriotic, but nothing occured to me except for funny things, because, as my friends say, funny things are all I can do. This is how the first joking tweets came to be; and there were so many ideas, but I did not want to post 10 tweets to my account, and so, I created a separate page.

Of course, no one suspected that this would succeed – I rather did it for fun. I came up with an idea, and I just wanted to express it. This is microbloggers’ common trouble – it is not enough for them to tell the joke to their friends – they have to tell it to all on Twitter!

In the first three hours, the Twitter account gained about 500 followers. My friends advised me to create an Instagram account. This was just what they said, “There are few people on Twitter, and you will write it all just for fun. On the Gram, you can enable at least some sort of monetization, if the account becomes popular, you can promote something helpful, etc.”

Where the ideas come from

I receive 30% of the ideas from my followers (those on Twitter are tagged in the publications). The other 70% are just quotes, words, songs, and situations from my life, the life of my friends and family. I mean, essentially, this is all that floats around any ordinary Ukrainian; but here it is written down, that is why it must have stricken a chord for many people – because it is lifelike – or not so. I don’t know 🙂

Now, I am far from Ukraine and my loved ones, and I feel a 70 lvl yearning. A typical Ukrainian heartache. I miss my granddad, my grandma and her phrases, those situations, songs, that lifestyle – Ukraine in general. So, this page was rather created with that kind of emotions.

The time that I put into @in_ukraine_we_dont_say does not count, because this is all being done on inspiration. I am an ordinary person; I am young; I work at the office, marketing department; I have a Twitter blog; I love Ukrainian music, my homeland – Dnieper Ukraine, and cute animals. Nothing extraordinary, totally like everyone else.

How the community has grown

I created the Twitter and Instagram accounts on August 24. The one on Twitter grew quite rapidly, gathering about 2,000 followers in one day. Now it has 9,000 followers.

The InThe Instagram account gathered about a thousand followers on the very first day, and in 8 days, there were 51,000 of them.

The average post reach is approximately 50,000 views. The top post has almost 100,000 views. The second most popular one, 70,000.

It is like a miracle. But I would not say this has happened by a stroke of luck. From the very beginning my friends, microbloggers, helped the idea to survive and come to fruition. A casual phrase, “Hi, I’m creating a page. Please RT something, if you like it” to the four Ukrainian Twitter “thousanders” – @almost_bergman, @zhlobiha, @hromtastic, @womansadevil – and we set the ball rolling.

Every day there were 4,000 to 7,000 new followers on Instagram, as well as constant reposts, reposts, reposts… A whole lot of pleasant things in direct messages, but some negative stuff also. People were indignant about “ukraine” with no initial capital, against the backdrop of the war with Russia. I got some really emotional messages saying that I was “waging a war on my own country.”

The reality is, by contrast, that the page aims to promote everything Ukrainian, as something cool, cute, something really unique and funny (in a good way). Our nation has a wonderful sense of humor, which we have retained throughout our sad history. In my opinion, this is truly a gem, one of the top Ukrainian strengths – the ability to endure everything with a humorous attitude.

Anyway, there were, of course, more pleasant things and gratitude than negativity.

Monetization

We have already had one advertising collaboration with a pizza chain. I made a mistake in the post, writing “піцца” instead of “піца” (Ukr. pizza), which was pointed out by some 300 people. Well, now all of our readers will know how to write “pizza” in Ukrainian ??

We have also had a collab with Book Forum Lviv, but on a “post for post” basis.

There are many advertising offers, but we do not want to stray away from the concept, and not every ad fits it. And I do not want to advertize everything.

Now, we are preparing another collaboration, with a stronger cultural aspect. It is awesome to have an opportunity to do good and promote some cool Ukrainian stuff.

If people lose interest in the page, we will be glad that at least there has been such a chance, so now we are trying to make the most of it.

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