Q&A with senior Tim Chau, Instagram business owner



Compiled by Anyi Cheng

The Oracle: How did your meme account begin?
Tim Chau: I didn’t just start with my account 3.14 (pi). I first created a meme account for the doge meme. I would spam other meme accounts with comments that imitated the doge language. After I reached 50,000 followers on that account, the doge meme started to die out, so I set out to create different meme accounts. Now, I just own pi.

TO: What has been the best part of running a meme account?
TC: Running a meme account allowed me to discover what I’m interested in. Since creating a meme account, I opened my own store and ran marketing campaigns with companies. These activities led me to discover me a [college] major I love—business. A great part of having this giant meme page is the revenue that comes with it. I can pay for my tuition for college. Along with my beloved cash, finding the memes that cater to the teenage demographic is just really entertaining. I also wrote fanfiction about Pepe the Frog. At its peak, the fanfiction account had over 30,000 followers on Instagram and thousands of active readers. Sadly, the account and my beautiful work of art was destroyed when a hacker came along.


TO: How have you used your account to inspire change?
TC: I raise awareness for certain causes that I care about like the refugee situations, mental health stigmas, social rights and the malicious things that politicians have done through posting memes, article headlines or videos. Personally, I have donated some of the profits that I earned through my online business to help the Syrian refugee crisis. I
also created a video about the experience of a sex-trafficking survivor and nonprofit founder and used my platform to spread awareness [about these issues].

TO: What are your future plans for your meme account?
TC: I plan on running my meme account in the future and collaborating with different brands. Hopefully, big companies like Nike and Adidas will come to recognize the amazing potential that comes with using memes and meme accounts to promote their products.


TO: What are the biggest problems you’ve faced since you gained popularity?
TC: I’ve been hacked a couple of times. In December 2014, this guy hacked [information about] my financ[es], home, school, family restaurant addresses, personal information like my mom’s Social Security number and more. He also had my password on Instagram and kept going in the account, and my Facebook was linked to the account. After two weeks of struggling, I nally got him out of my account. However, the next year [on] the weekend before finals week, he came back and hacked me again. This time, he hacked my ve emails, Paypal and Instagram account. He also was able to lock my iPhone and Macbook through entering my iCloud ID and password. In April, I got my account back. This entire hacking thing is a mess!


TO: What was the worst part about running an Instagram meme page?
TC: The worst part about running a meme page is seeing all the hate and animosity that are spread throughout the comments. There is a lot of hate speech and xenophobia that come with my political memes that bash on our current president. It’s sad to me that many of my followers are simply racist, sexist, homophobic; any type of discrimination—you name it, I got it. But I don’t really care that much because since they follow me, I can profit off of them.

TO: What do you see in the future of marketing and entrepreneurship when it comes to social media?
TC: Already, social media is filled with marketing. Although not all of us see it, a large majority of posts contain some sort of sponsored product. An Instagram meme may contain a person wearing Nike or Puma apparel. A tweet by a popular account may be a movie trailer. Every little thing alters society’s tastes and preferences. With the movement away from traditional TV to social media, companies are starting to invest more in social media marketing.