I genuinely believe there’s an inner geek hiding under that hard, skeptical, seen-this-done-that, survived the economic crash and ‘I’ll never afford a house’-kind of millennial skin.
The geek who gets triggered by jokes like ‘the rotation of Earth really makes my day’ and ‘mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell.’ Call it a niche sense of humor, but a whopping 529k devoted followers of Bad Science Jokes on Instagram can’t get enough of it.
So today we selected some of the most nerdy memes, jokes and funny bits shared on Bad Science Jokes and it turned out to be quite a collection! Who said that overwhelmingly studious stuff can’t be funny? Well, I surely didn't!
Bored Panda reached out to the creator of Bad Science Jokes, Melissa Miller, who was happy to tell us more about her project. “Actually, I started Bad Science Jokes on Tumblr in 2012 for a high school project,” Melissa recounted. “My junior year science teacher said she would give us extra points for a joke on the back of a test. After that, though, we would write jokes and doodles on the back of every test or homework assignment. I would document the ones I thought were funny and put them on Tumblr.”
“After junior year, I didn't mess with the site very much until I became very ill and bedridden due to chronic fatigue syndrome,” Melissa said. Sadly, she lost her job, lost a majority of her friends, and had recently moved cross country. “I used Bad Science Jokes as an outlet to a world outside the 4 walls of my bedroom. When my health picked up, I had already gained over 50,000 followers on Tumblr and decided to go to college for marketing.”
At that point, Melissa figured this would be a good place to learn how to make her sites even better. “I began creating Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts in around 2016—my first year of college. When attending the classes for digital marketing, I realized I had made more of splash than the professors had and continued to research on my own.”
She ended up working for major agencies, like “Google Partners, among others with my self-taught knowledge” and “now, Bad Science Jokes is sitting very very close to 1 million followers across the web!”
Melissa said that she loves when people write to her saying that a specific meme helped them learn a concept, or helped them memorize something they had trouble with. “There was a meme that said 'Cations are pawsitive.'"
“People kept writing about how the meme helped simplify a complicated topic in an easy way. I've had teachers tell me they print out the memes and put them on the whiteboard. I once chatted with a scientist who worked at the Arctic Circle. There were only about 5 people there and he would regularly print out memes from Bad Science Jokes and share them around the base. He said it gave them warmth and smiles when it was hard,” Melissa told us.
She also noted that many people she meets tell her "you're just a meme page. It's nothing special." “Well, to some people I am. If I can bring a smile to one person then I did something right and I did something special,” the creator of Bad Science Memes added.
When it comes to the jokes themselves, Melissa said that she creates some herself or people send some to her. “I have a handful of joke groups on Facebook designed for getting new ideas for memes. My group Unappreciated Puns is awesome to help gain ideas and test out puns before sharing them to a larger audience.” After doing this regularly since around 2014, she has come to learn what her audience likes.“These days, I try to keep it more general 'education' rather than strictly science,” the creator said describing the content. “Educational humor helps reach a larger audience, and with so many branches of science it does get confusing—especially since my main background isn't science!”
Moreover, “lately, I've been adding posts that 'don't make the cut' into my stories and it seems people are enjoying that. I'm able to share more of the weird memes I personally like there, too. Ha! (I'm super into those weird surreal memes that most people just don't get. Like I say with my page, my jokes are 'bad.')”
Melissa believes that like any successful content creator, meme page, or what have you, there is a lot of work that goes into it most people don't notice. “Even with one viral post, it won't maintain the engagement it caused for a long period of time. I do think I kind of hit this at the beginning... There weren't a ton of niche meme pages in 2014!”
She believes that her knowledge of digital marketing and social media marketing, specifically, has helped her create the following quicker to a larger audience in a type of niche that doesn't usually get this popular. “Most niche meme pages seem to sit around 50k-200k depending on what that niche is. Bad Science Jokes has over 530k followers on Instagram alone,” Melissa explained.
“I really do try and learn what the audience wants. I try to be a different outlet for people. A way to educate and have fun. When I go to a museum or event like NASASocial back in 2017, I try to bring my audience along with live videos and help answer questions with tour guides or local experts.”
The audience of Bad Science Jokes is from all around the world, which means that “Many of them won't be in the same spot I am in—in a literal way—so when I can help share an exciting event, museum, lecture, I will!”“I strive to be more than a handful of 'bad science jokes.' There is a lot of competition out there. Every day I find a new version of my page 'moderate science jokes,' 'great science jokes,' so on and so forth.”
Melissa believes that what will help you stand out (in meme pages, influencer marketing, or content creation) is a couple of things. “Bringing your true self to the posts. Finding your page's 'voice.' Bad Science Jokes' commentary is much more snarky than I personally am. Being regular with content—but finding the 'sweet spot' between over posting and under posting. This takes time to find out and changes regularly with new followers. Staying true to your niche or topic. When people switch over, it is hard to maintain that performance. It's possible but you need to be prepared for a bit of extra work, studying the statistics of your analytics and reading comments.”
Another thing Melissa strives to do is read every message. “Surprisingly, I get a ton of hate mail. I had to take a break in 2015 due to death threats,” she recounted. “Nonetheless, I read every message someone writes to Bad Science Jokes because if they took the time to send it to me, I can at least read the message. (I can't always reply,.... but I do read them all!) (Comments are usually another story... far too many). I like people to know there is someone behind the rocket ship logo.”
In some instances, Bad Science Jokes becomes much more than another popular meme page. “I had someone, years ago, write to me as if I would never see the message. They talked about their day and how they were planning on killing themselves. I was able to write back within a couple hours. The person didn't expect a response from a larger account like mine. I wrote them every day for weeks until the feeling had passed. I'm sad to say I've had a few messages like this.... I guess maybe that's why I read my messages so adamantly... I need to be there for someone if they need me.”
“The character that is 'Bad Science Jokes' has a personal relationship with thousands of people. I may not personally know them, but they allow BSJ to be in their newsfeeds multiple times a day,” the creator said and added that “They watch the stories, read my comments, listen to my live videos, whatever. If they think I'm the friend they could use in a hard time in their lives, then you're gosh-darn right I am.”