Starter Pack memes have become a staple in internet culture, encapsulating various archetypes through a collection of images and items. These multi-panel photo sets, illustrate the essence of celebrities, various subcultures, and everyday scenarios with biting accuracy and humor, and are a modern form of material culture study where physical objects and references represent certain societal groups.
Akin to “steal her look” fashion guides, starter pack memes mirror marketing tactics and social media classifications, offering a satirical and self-reflective look at how we perceive and categorize ourselves and others. Let’s take a closer look at this internet trend.
Agency owner starter pack pic.twitter.com/CEW8Ofh0V3— Morgan Trades (@morgan__trades) December 13, 2023
The genesis of the starter pack trend
Starter pack memes began to gain momentum on X, formerly Twitter, in late September 2014. The concept was initiated by a tweet from user @ItsLadinaPlis, which included a set of images portraying a specific hairstyle and fashion accessories. The format was similar to instructional guides and “starter kits” used in commercial and educational contexts, but the this updated version had a humorous and satirical twist.
Spread and evolution
The new meme format exploded on Twitter, with “starter pack” and “starter kit” mentions surging in November 2014. Dedicated Twitter accounts and a Tumblr blog soon followed, curating these memes and contributing to their widespread popularity. The format resonated with audiences due to its relatable and often humorous depictions of various social groups and experiences.
Self-awareness and meta-humor
As the meme continued to develop, netizens used it to provide a meta commentary about starter pack memes themselves. This reflexivity highlights the formulaic nature of both the memes and the subcultures they represent, and touches on the reductionist tendencies of internet humor.
@katwoooood it’s not called being basic. it’s called being relatable. #greenscreen #starterpacks ♬ Young And Beatiful – Belinda
The automated Starter Pack bot
With the algorithmic potential of the meme continuing to expand, an automated bot was created to randomly generate starter pack memes based on Wikipedia articles. This bot highlighted the meme’s versatile use for various topics, from the mundane to the bizarre.
In the Key of Disney starter pack pic.twitter.com/fkSYNcUG2g— starter pack bot (@starterpackbot) February 19, 2018
Relatability and the meme’s appeal
These memes gained popularity due to their relatability and ability to capture the essence of a wide array of experiences and identities. These memes became a favorite on platforms like Memebase, where they were celebrated for their ability to roast and celebrate life’s peculiarities.
The dark side of stereotyping
While generally humorous, the format has sometimes veered into controversial territory, with accusations of racism and insensitive generalizations. Despite this, many starter pack memes focus on light-hearted and benign subjects, from professional roles to niche hobbies.
The cultural impact of starter pack memes
Starter pack memes have cemented their place in the annals of internet culture as a unique and versatile format for humor, social commentary, and self-reflection.
@iix_vxnom #greenscreensticker Expensive Burger Place Starterpack #fypシ #foryou #fyp ♬ mega – marcus🔛🔝
By distilling complex identities and experiences into a handful of images, these memes provide a snapshot of our collective consciousness, using humor and satire to explore the nuances of human behavior and social norms.