Student gets social about his viral Instagram meme page

Christopher Dacanay

Distribution Manager

Sophomore Jimmy Reynolds is a regular, everyday student at Franciscan University of Steubenville. There is nothing out of the ordinary about Reynolds’s mannerisms, which is why it may shock some to learn he runs a famous meme page with more than 129,000 followers on Instagram.

Hailing from Brewerton, New York, Reynolds is a communication arts major concentrating in multimedia, and the sole owner and operator of Lit Catholic Memes.

Created in the summer of 2016, Lit Catholic Memes is a page dedicated to Catholic comedy and the posts each receive more than 10,000 likes and 100 comments. The Instagram page, @litcatholicmemes, harbors over 1,650 total posts.

Reynolds also oversees Lit Catholic Memes on Facebook and @cathoLIT_tweets on Twitter, both of which he uses infrequently.

“I was really looking for this account to make new stuff,” Reynolds said, referencing the lack of Catholic meme pages in 2016. “So basically I was able to monopolize the industry from the beginning.”

Reynolds, who has used social media since 2013, said he has always loved memes. When Reynolds created Lit Catholic Memes, he started posting his own faith-infused meme ideas online. Positive feedback encouraged Reynolds to make more, and five years later, the page has become a colossal success.

The posts on Lit Catholic Memes tend to be “relatable,” Reynolds said, meaning they comically portray what the life of a Catholic is like. Reynolds also makes more theological, conversation-starting posts involving topics such as Bible verses and the Eucharist.

Reynolds estimates that 95% of the memes on his page were created by him. Occasionally, he reposts content from other creators that he thinks is funny. He takes inspiration from various Christian meme pages, but he maintains that his own content is unique in its Catholic direction.

Reynolds said Lit Catholic Memes has been an excellent tool for spreading his faith, particularly to his followers, some of whom are Protestants.

In tandem with his evangelization efforts, however, Reynolds holds a cautious attitude toward social media. He says that social media is what you make it to be.

“(Social media) can bring out the worst in people,” Reynolds said. “You can start arguing with strangers about something that’s not even important. … But it’s also a great way to communicate ideas with people. It’s a way to stay connected to pretty much anyone on the planet.”

At some point, Reynolds said, he was allowed to change Lit Catholic Memes from a personal Instagram profile to a business profile due to his high follower count. This business classification grants him access to detailed analytics on his post engagement, primary demographics and other information.

On the page, Reynolds occasionally runs advertisements, for which he receives payment. Limiting the ads to avoid being “annoying,” Reynolds only permits ads that are relevant to his content and followers. This typically includes Catholic businesses like Catholic Match, the Catholic Card Game and Franciscan University.

Aided by years of experience, Reynolds has adapted to running the large-scale Lit Catholic Memes page well. In fact, Reynolds said posting has become natural to him. Recently he has been posting every other day and he tries not to go three or four days without posting.

“(Running the page) is about as stressful as I make it to be,” Reynolds said. “If I don’t have time to really be too engaged, I can just not be as engaged. … It’s not like I have any expectations I need to meet.”

Reynolds said, “I try not to make (the page) too big a part of my life. I try to keep real life things first. I don’t want social media to get in the way of things that I’m doing with school, friends or family.”

Reynolds said his family is supportive of him and the meme page. Additionally, Reynolds says his friends sometimes forget he runs the page, which he prefers since he does not want it to be intrusive on his relationships.

In addition to his social media endeavors, Reynolds also enjoys participating in intramural sports, designing things in Adobe Photoshop, playing the ukulele, creating art and casually playing video games with friends.

After he graduates, Reynolds said, he hopes to acquire a job in the field of marketing, focusing on design. Reynolds said he already has a great amount of experience through Lit Catholic Memes and through his advertising contract with the Marketing and Communications Department at Franciscan.

Reynolds, the younger brother of two Franciscan alumni, decided to come to Franciscan after attending five different Steubenville conferences. He said he always loved the Catholic community, and wanted to learn how to integrate his faith into his future career.

There is no clear vision for the page’s future, Reynolds said. He wants to use the page to hone his skills using social media in preparation for his marketing career.

Referencing one of his favorite meme formats, Reynolds delivered a message to the students of Franciscan: “Licking doorknobs is illegal on other planets.”

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