I’ve never really been much of a virtual community type of person, except a sizable amount of my early teenage years spent hanging out in AOL chat rooms. I used to spend a lot of time on BuzzFeed until I realized it was making me stupider. I found Reddit to be interesting and funny but the organization of the site always gave me a headache. I decided to check out Imgur because it’s easy to navigate, it’s direct and to the point, and, seriously, who doesn’t enjoy laughing at funny pictures? Memes rule. GIFs are even better. Uplifting stories? The best. Here’s what I learned after a week and countless hours (and counting...) on Imgur.
1. People are seriously fucking clever.
Have you ever been in a situation in life where you felt you said or thought something rather witty or clever? Where you felt such an incredible sensation of smugness and cleverness come over you, you wanted to pat yourself on the back or write it down so you could always remember that one clever thing you said? Well, forget it. Because the top posters and commenters on Imgur are Super Saiyan 4 clever. Not Loki or The Joker clever (sorry guys), but know-how-to-twist-words-and-craft-the-single-most-hilarious-sentence, pun masters clever. Which leads me to...
2. People are seriously funny.
Have you ever met someone and instantly bonded over your similar sense of humor? Now imagine a whole community of people who have the exact same sense of humor as you. You know that one hilarious friend you have? Times them by 1,000. Then a million. I’m thinking of starting a YouTube channel where people just record themselves looking through images and reading through comments on Imgur because it would really just be a beautiful collection of people lol-ing, guffawing, and hysterically laughing.
3. GIF Wars are real.
Step aside because the best of the best are coming up against one another on Imgur. Pop a few pounds of popcorn because you don’t want to miss these genius posters creating clever, I-wish-I-had-thought-of-that GIFs in a battle of wits and seriously fantastic movie references. How?! How?!
And then there’s one user, @PettyOfficer117, the originator of the most recent GIF Wars, who posted a tutorial on how easy it is to create GIFs, basically encouraging everyone to become involved and strive towards creativity, and you’re like, ‘You must be a hero in real life, @PettyOfficer117.’
4. Be yourself.
Based on my observations, there’s nothing Imgurians hate more than liars or people who post images simply for upvotes. Sure, getting to the Front Page is the ultimate objective (artificial points matter!), but there is nothing more heinous, egregious, and vile on Imgur than frauds. You simply do not get to insist you are white, then black, then Republican, then a victim, then a survivor for upvotes. You will get called out on it. You will be publicly shamed. You will have to delete your account and start over, and even then, people may figure out your new username.
5. Always post original content.
OC trumps reposted garbage. The Imgur community insists on originality. Don’t bother reposting cool or funny pictures you saw on Reddit because the people here are ninjas. They know (see above). ‘Be original. Be creative. Show me something new and unseen,’ they demand, which I find admirable. Imgur is the birthplace of the majority of the funny pictures you see on Instagram accounts such as @thefatjewish, @9gag, and @beigecardigan. When you see the same pictures on these accounts hours or days after you saw them on Imgur, it makes you understand why original content is so important and greatly advocated.
6. Shitty people need not apply.
Anyone who has spent any time on the comments section of any page or article anticipates reading incredibly hateful, ignorant, and offensive comments. Surprisingly, you won't find these on Imgur and if you do, the community will swiftly downvote the comment or shame the person into deleting their account. Imgur is more than a website where people post pictures. It's a community of people who will not condone hatred or bigotry. That's not to say this is a place of rainbows and butterflies, as there are plenty of people who slip in between the cracks. In addition, there are plenty of I-can't-believe-you-said-that, and we're-all-going-hell jokes, but you won't find anyone spewing depravity or hatred here, and considering that kind of negativity is rampant all over the Internet, that's an amazing, collective achievement.
No website has made me want to become involved and connected with the people who comprise this virtual community of people as Imgur has. This is a network of people who promote originality and those who, despite how shitty everyone else in the world can be, come together to cheer on, congratulate, sympathize with, and encourage human connections. So to those who comprise this insanely creative, inspiringly wonderful community on Imgur, I upvote you.