The popular Instagram account @afffirmations, which currently has over 839,000 followers, took social media by storm in January of 2021. The account posts satirical self-affirmations, which they advertise as “global self hypnosis.” Parody accounts of this style became popular soon after the creation of the affirmations page, including Brandeis’ own affirmations account — @Deisaffirmations

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Deis Affirmations is not the first social media page to post satirical Brandeis-themed content; @brandeismemes was established in 2019, as was Brandeis Confessions on Facebook. Brandeis Memes posts traditional memes, meaning pictures with comedic captions relating to the images. Their content is also uploaded more frequently — sometimes multiple times a week, and it comes straight from the voices of many students. 

Brandeis Confessions, on the other hand, provides a platform for students to submit anonymous confessions about themselves or their experiences at Brandeis — these confessions are often satirical; however some students do use the platform to ask for serious advice or voice legitimate concerns about the University. The Affirmations page is slightly different from the meme page in the way that it publishes satirical positive self-affirmations and is different from the Facebook page as the Affirmations page only posts comedic content, while the Confessions page often comes across as sincere. Deis Affirmations’ posts have included sayings such as “I will not get lead poisoning,” “I will not fall down Rabb steps” and “Sherm food quality will not deteriorate.” Oftentimes, students will create their own affirmations in the comment sections of the posts.  

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Regardless of the content posted on any of these accounts, they all have the potential to improve students’ mental health, especially during the pandemic. An NPR article posted last month highlights a research study conducted by the American Psychological Association which explores how memes can impact stress and coping mechanisms in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. The study found that “those who viewed memes — a type of humor they described as funny or cute pictures that reference pop culture — reported ‘higher levels of humor’ and more positive feelings.” 

Deis Affirmations was created this past June and is run by an anonymous junior. In addition to being inspired by the original @afffirmations account, the owner was prompted to start the account because “Brandeis lacks a [unified] form of school spirit, and ... in a weird way this account allowed folks to come together through comedic irony,” they said over an Instagram direct message, in order to preserve anonymity. They continued that “Brandeis isn’t perfect and this account has become a vehicle for me to take account of its flaws — whether they’re serious infringements, concerns or just minor inconveniences.”

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Coming up with ideas for posts hasn’t been an issue for the junior. “It’s easy for me to come up with content because I take from my lived experience as a student here but also steal from anecdotes that my friends and acquaintances share with me about their lives,” they said. Their favorite posts include those that feature major-specific content. “It’s fun to make fun of my friends and their majors (as well as my own majors  — LOL). It’s also cute seeing people repost it to self-deprecate or expose their friends for falling into a major stereotype,” they said. 

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What has been a bit of a struggle for the junior, though, is being consistent with posting on the account while also focusing on being a full-time student. “Like every Brandeis student, I have assignments to do, exams to take, extracurriculars, internships, etc. Midterm season and seasonal depression have honestly been kicking my ass so I’ve been on hiatus for a while, unfortunately. Ultimately I have to prioritize myself and my health especially since I’m the only one [running] the account,” the owner said. 

Additionally, they mentioned that satire and irony come with the risk of offending people who interpret the posts in the wrong way, which is not the intention of the owner. “My account is satirical and ironic and pokes fun at Brandeis’ flaws in a way that’s meant to bring attention to [them] as well as have folks identify with [them] comedically. I’m very intentional about not targeting or harming anyone/any group though, with irony, [but] it may be difficult for some folks to distinguish between reality and comedy,” they said. 

The account’s owner has enjoyed seeing responses to their posts from the Brandeis community. “I love seeing all my friends and mutuals repost them and resonate with them so strongly,” they wrote. In addition to students sharing the posts, they usually receive about 300-400 likes and around 10 comments. Students’ interactions with the account illustrate how much the content resonates with students and how successful the platform is. 

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