Consider this Facebook post: an overly exposed image of Ryan Gosling during his drive Era with a person with bangs layered behind him. Neon text reads, “Shut up, shut up. I just want to brood and listen to Billy Idol’s 1983 new wave hit EYES WITHOUT A FACE.”
It only took Natalie Dober a few minutes to slap this meme together and like any good one shit post, if you think about it too long, it’s not funny anymore. The humor lies in the thoughtlessness.
Natalie Dober’s first post on the Facebook page “I wish I was Shitposting about music in a bunker”.
Credit: Natalie Dober
Dober does all her memes on her phone. A “strange idea” occurs to her, so she cobbles together a post on Snapchat and saves it to her phone before sharing it online with the appropriate site. Most of the time this is the “I wish I was posting about music in a bunker” Facebook site.
“I really love the group because it’s like a really chilled environment and people aren’t really mean to each other — or when they are, it’s pretty clearly tongue-in-cheek,” Dober said. “At least personally I have a guideline. I don’t take anything seriously that anyone in the group says unless we’re specifically having an actual music discussion.”
It’s a private group created on January 10, 2018 with a dozen admins and moderators. Currently there are around 60,500 members who post around 10-20 times a day on the site and was created as a place to post memes about music.
There are two camps on the site: those who post the memes and those who want to talk about music. The Venn diagram of these two groups is mostly a perfect circle. Take this postFor example: There is a group of memes about Eminem being a good rapper with the text: “Hot take… Eminem is the ONLY worthwhile white rapper.”
Below the post are dozens of comments dissecting what we do when we categorize rappers by race. One member said it “allowed [white] people to continue to dominate genres created by other cultures while getting away with being half as talented.” and said it would do rappers like Eminem a disservice by saying they would only be “as considered great if races were brought into play.” A thread follows, but another user wrote, for example, “Any Eminem fan before listening to Tom MacDonald.” (MacDonald is a outrageously bad Canadian rapper, songwriter, and former professional wrestler.)
Dober does not miss
Credit: Natalie Dober
“Half of them I think are people who like music, more than just pop,” Molly Hartles, a UK presenter, told Mashable. “They like indie, old stuff, blues, all kinds. And then there are other people – like mostly the younger people who are Taylor Swift Stans and stuff like that. There’s a juxtaposition between the two: the pop people and the indie people who love them, in their discussions, they love to bump heads a little.”
But even with the more intense musical conversations, things never really get out of hand like they might in other online groups. Hartles says most discussions boil down to people finding ways to expand their music library and ultimately shitpost.
Credit: Natalie Dober
“It’s cool that we have tons of different representations of genres of music that people like,” Dober said. “We get a good selection. A lot of the posts are about indie music because I think most of the people on the site listen to indie, post-rock, and radiohead types [music], but we get a good variety of stuff. I think, at least as far as music groups go, we’re one of the best.”
I think, at least as far as music groups go, we’re one of the best.
Discussions about any of the posts rarely escalate into real drama, which Dober credits to the site for “just not being that deep.”
“Shitposting is literally in the name,” Dober told Mashable. “[No one] comes to this group not knowing what it is.”
The moderator does it
With seven to ten posts a day, Dober is one of the most prolific posters on the site. In 2020, page administrator Itamar Kondologit asked her to also become a moderator. She immediately agreed.
Kondologit found the “I wish I was shitposting about music in a bunker” site like Dober and Hartles and many others: she was looking for a Radiohead shitposting group, and Benjamin Gulbrandsen had created the perfect one.
“I just clicked on it and then I was like, ‘Well, this guy [Gulbrandsen] is really funny. He makes really great memes,'” Kondologit told Mashable.
One of Kondologit’s favorite memes from the site
Photo credit: Itamar Kondologit
Eventually the group grew to such a massive size that Gulbrandsen, who lives in Denmark, needed help guiding it.
“It just grew and grew and grew,” Gulbrandsen said of the site’s first year and a half. When it reached 5,000 members, he figured he needed help. “I can’t moderate everything myself. So I made a post asking if anyone would like to help. I think that’s how Itamar is [Kondologit] stretched out.”
Kondologit said moderating just makes sense to her. “I never thought I would even be like a facilitator for this group,” she said. “I did it just for fun, but now it’s just become something I’m definitely invested in. I definitely want to keep this group.”
Is the mental toll of moderation worth it?
For the most part, all of her experiences with moderating have been good. But that doesn’t make breaks unnecessary. There is Studies showing moderating sites can be extremely detrimental to people’s mental health because they only have to agonize through the worst content a group can conjure up.
“We’re really trying to curb any kind of bigotry like racism, homophobia, transphobia and the like,” Dober said. “And so it’s pretty rare for it to be posted, but when I first started moderating we marked certain terms as . So if anyone comments [the flagged terms], we receive a notification. So I’m definitely seeing a lot more.”
Despite it all, Dober still thinks the group is one of her favorite spots on the internet.
“I never really had internet friends before I got involved in the group,” Dober said. “And now I have several people that I’m friends with because [of] the group.”
One of Gulbrandsen’s favorite memes on the site.
Photo credit: Benjamin Gulbrandsen
Dober spends dozens of hours each week with Gulbrandsen, Kondologit, Hartles, and the other moderators accepting posts, talking about music, and shitposting. A total of eight of them – from Australia, Great Britain, Indonesia and the USA – work together to win posts from the more than 60,000 members.
“I’ve made a lot of friends through this site,” Gulbrandsen told Mashable. “People I’ve met in real life too.”
“This group definitely brought people together from different parts of the world,” Kondologit said. “I never thought in a million years that I would make friends from Australia, Britain and all those other places. It’s easy, it’s crazy.”
All moderators agree that this group has given them space to feel calm and comfortable, especially during COVID. It created a world of humor and music, and nothing else. A look behind the scenes as a presenter hasn’t changed that.