Skip to contents
Culture

Meet the Man Who Memes Minnesota

Ben Nesvig's Minnesota Memes is pushing 100K followers on Instagram.

Instagram: Minnesota Memes

Ben Nesvig wasn’t sure how crowded the local meme marketplace was in 2017. He knew of regional human-meme hybrids—Wisconsin’s Charlie Berens, Iowa’s You Betcha Guy—but the memeification of Minnesota seemed underdeveloped. Then again, not a whole lot of calculation went into Minnesota Memes, which launched that year via Instagram.

“I just wanted some sort of humor outlet on Instagram,” says Nesvig, who works in social media strategy as a day job. “I’m not sure how, exactly, I landed on Minnesota… besides the fact I’ve lived here my whole life.”

At first, it was tough sledding out there in the vast fields of content. Minnesota Memes only boasted around 100 followers, and Nesvig dug deep to summon motivation to post hand-crafted memes centered around our state’s greatest interests: “weather, sports, the State Fair, which exits someone might take to the Mall of America.” 

Slowly but surely, the account began gaining steam. Nesvig can’t pinpoint a single meme that blew up early on (“might have been the one about Snicker salad”), but eventually the mysterious algorithm smiled on his riffy, relatable insights into Minnesota life.

There’s the one about about horrifying tornado sirens firing every first Wednesday (125,000 views):

And the one about about the refurbished Spoon & Cherry coming home (133,000 views):

And who could forget this I Think You Should Leave-angled take on our struggles with zipper merging? (74,000 views):

While most of the posts are originals, Nesvig will aggregate on-brand content from other creators—even Racket’s Em Cassel.

You get the idea. And so do almost 97,000 Instagram users who’ve followed Minnesota Memes. Its creator hasn’t considered any monetization attempts, though he has been angling for free State Fair tickets for three years. (No luck yet.) For Nesvig, the account allows him to let down his hair and meme from his deeply Minnesotan heart, a feeling that’s not always attainable in the corporatized social media realm.

“I get to use some of my career skills, but for posting whatever I want,” he says. “No legal department to go through.”

Moreover, as Twitter becomes a cesspool and non-Racket news sites pollute feeds with culture war mumbo jumbo, Nesvig hopes Minnesota Memes can provide an oasis of carefree state pride.

“I’ve somehow avoided any debates about anything too serious, beyond which place has the best Jucy Lucy,” he says. “That’s part of the goal: To be a feed cleanser, or at least be a little break from how the rest of the internet can feel.”