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We met Dejon and Qian, founders of local meme, Bermemes, to discuss everything from building a local brand with a cult social media following to some of their favourite vurds.

For a local and very specifically Bermudian based brand, you have a large international following. Why do you think this is?

Dejon: Around 30-40% of our audience is actually international. I believe this has to do partially with Bermudians living abroad for various reasons; education, more opportunity, even professional sports. Another part would be the tourism factor and past expatriates that gain education through us while engaging and sharing their nostalgic love for the island.  

Qian: One of the great things about social media is the discovery tools. For anyone who is interested in Bermuda/Bermudians there’s no shortage of great content to stumble upon. And because our content tends to be very engaging,  we are able to attract a large number of people from all over the world viewing the stuff we post. 

It has also struck such a chord with locals of course. What do you attribute to Bermemes success? 

Dejon: Well, in a digital era of deep fakes, photoshop and propaganda through a variety of mediums, people want to relate to something that is as real as them. Audiences desire things that live life as they do. Bermemes excels at this. We are just sharing our lives as a Bermudian with our audience. 

Qian:  As a tiny, remote Island in the middle of the Atlantic, there are things about us that are so unique. With some of the stuff we post, you only “get it” because it’s a Bermudian thing.  Bermemes is purely authentic, it’s fun, and it’s a brand that exists to share and celebrate what makes us special.

Do you get sent a lot of videos by other people? How many do you get sent vs how many you post, ie how many actually make the cut?

Dejon: We get sent tons. Between the notifications, DM’s, tweets, Whatsapp, it can be a bit overwhelming and hard to thread through. It’s actually one of our most tedious jobs as we wish to share almost everything that involves Bermudian life. When it comes to “making the cut,” we have to be responsible with what we distribute. 

Qian:  One our favourite things about Bermemes is the amount of content that our audience sends us.  As Dejon mentioned, there’s definitely a huge responsibility of having a platform that can reach so many people.  There’s a thin line between things like what’s funny vs offensive, real or fake, etc. One of the things we try and avoid is simply “posting for clout,” and instead asking ourselves with every post, ”Does this add value to our mission and purpose?”  

What are your plans for the future with regards to the social media ideas and growing Bermemes?

Dejon: As always, continue to promote Bermuda by Bermudians while enhancing communications in Bermuda and building Bermudian pride.

Qian:  We’re still a small company in terms of resources and people, but even as we grow, we’d like to remain grounded to what’s got us to where we are today.  Media is evolving at a rapid pace and although our mission hasn’t changed, it’s exciting to try new stuff everyday.  

What has been your most viewed and commented video? Why do you think it resonated so well with the audience?

Dejon: There have been a few. This all goes back to relatability , and authenticity which are pillars of the brand. Off of the top of my head would be “Bermudian Swimming Lessons” that gains  more views every time someone shares the link again. There is also the Portuguese Holiday short news bit and other history shorts we do gain a lot of traction. People digest information differently nowadays with social media, and we prepare our content to be not just educational but interactive.

How do you think that Bermudians use social media?  

Dejon: I would say, like most. We aren’t that much different than those using it globally, but I also think we can use it much better. It is an unlimited resource that we can utilize all across the board, but with a very reserved nation towards change plus an ageing population many are still learning the basics, and only using the more popular apps. Bermudians are different crowds on different apps.   

Qian:  Bermudians, like people around the world use it to share what’s important to them and to be connected.  Social media has allowed content to flow in real-time across the globe. So for Bermuda, (much like a remote town somewhere else), this new age of decreased friction and lag time in communications has had a profound influence on how we consume news and information.  

Has this changed since you launched Bermemes?

Dejon: Tremendously. Being a social media/mobile first brand has allowed us to always be at the forefront of the latest trends.  As one of the leaders in this space, I think we’ve had an influence on the way local media companies share information now; going beyond traditional channels.   

Qian: We’ve seen social media go from something that was cool to use, to a must-use tool for connecting with your audience.  It’s amazing to see not only the platforms and tools that are out there, but how Bermudians are using them. As creatives we draw from inspiration a lot, so we appreciate the ability to see the cool stuff that others are posting.

What is your favorite ‘vurd’ in the Bermudian dictionary and why?

Dejon: Probably “fack bah,” or chingas!” – It’s such a suitable replacement in public spaces for what you really wish to say!

Qian:  Hmmm…dat durr iz ah tough question. Favorite ‘vurd’? Um-um… 

 

If you could sum up Bermuda in three words what would they be?

 

Dejon: Prideful. Resilient. Beautiful.

 

Qian: Bermuda’s another world.

 

Do you have any tips for someone trying to grow a social media following – specifically in Bermuda?

 

Dejon: Know your product.  Know your audience. Pay attention and stay authentic. 

 

Qian: Everyone is unique, so find your voice and never compromise your values.  Grow your audience organically even if it takes a while; having lots of followers is irrelevant if the people you’re connected to don’t share your passion.

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