While many view Imgur as a simple image hosting site, it’s become a complex, intriguing community unto itself since launching as a sister site to Reddit in 2009.
With millions of people using the site and billions of pages being created and viewed, some users started to gain recognition for their dedication to the community and their contributions to its front page.
We wrote about one such user in the past, who originally hails from right here in South Africa.
ANewBadlyPhotoshoppedPhotoofMichaelCeraEveryday, as the user is called, gained a huge following by using his skills in photo manipulation to both entertain and troll people on the site.
Now a new “celebrity” is making a name for himself on the site: MohAki1. This user’s popularity comes from the creation of image dumps. While anyone can create a gallery of images and submit them to the community for voting, MohAki1 stands above all else when it comes to this practice.
For those who don’t use the site, it’s extremely difficult to gain traction when sending a new post into the community. Unlike Reddit, which uses smaller subreddits to manage content, submitting to Imgur is a more scattershot approach. An image or gallery is sent out into “usersub” where all posts are clumped together in one large gallery. There’s even a term for this in the community: “dying in usersub”, referring to a new post being downvoted or ignored before it can gain traction and attract more viewers.
But, when a new single image or gallery manages to become popular, it can reach the front page of the site and snowball thanks to the attention. This is what MohAki1 is known for: his ability to not only create these image dumps almost daily, but also reach the front page of Imgur consistently.
We spoke to MohAki1 over email for an interview. As an employee at an investment company who refers to himself as “an average dude” who likes movies and music, we tried to find out how he was able to crack the famously fickle Imgur community. Bear in mind, this is a long read, but it’s well worth it.
htxt.africa Who is the user “MohAki1” and how did they find their way to Imgur?
MohAki1 I was into gaming and led a very successful team into the global top ranks of [a particular] game. With that came communication apps. On one of these apps I met a friend who just memed and this friend introduced me to chat rooms that only posted memes.
In these rooms, you had to post memes to stay there. I sucked at providing memes back then. I noticed that the memes were getting repetitive, they were stale. I started ‘scavenging’ for fresh memes and found a few websites. Imgur was one of them.
Well Mohaki is my nickname! It’s based on my real name and due to pronunciation difficulties of my ethnic name it was initially Mohawk, but someone then rhymed it with my ethnic name to become mohaki [Mo-haa-kee]. It stuck!
htxt.africa When did you use the account to start making dumps of images, and when did these start to become popular?
MohAki1 I used to use Imgur as one of my sources for memes [in the] meme rooms, but that too, I noticed, was repetitive and stale. [So] I broadened my [search for] fresh memes!
When I searched for memes on Imgur I found they used the word dump for [multiple] memes in one post and this was a great source to get memes from and I noticed these posts did well.
So after months of lurking I decided to make a dump, so I signed up in December 2016 on my original account @MohAki and posted the dump! I asked for feedback and got good [suggestions] including numbering the memes, [and labelling them as] spicy memes and new memes.
So I tried again [using] this great feedback and I put the post up and went to work. Before I knew it, it went viral with 5 871 net upvotes, 266K views and over 200 comments. One of the people in the chat room for memes on the app congratulated me, so that motivated me too, but that’s when I knew others use the Imgur memes too. I had no idea about the community rules, so after my second successive viral it got banned.
I [honestly] didn’t know what was happening. I almost stopped because the [community rules] of Imgur are hard to interpret and I was frustrated. But I decided to try again and that’s when @Mohaki1 came from in 13th January 2017. I was only posting here and there and only posted when I had fresh memes. The imgur community took to it.
htxt.africa Was there one specific point when you realised the account and its actions were noticed and loved by the community?
MohAki1 I noticed that the dumps were loved when almost all my dumps went viral and scored well. But the fact that I had regulars commenting and praising, that made me happy that people valued them. Because by now the haters started coming out too.
What really got me once was that [the user] @annaofthesouth asked me in one post if I was okay, because I had plenty of relationship memes in my dump. I responded her on the thread and the support I got from community was heartfelt on 19th March . It was about how we all get cheated.
I also started daily dumps from around 10th March and everyone since then has made [it to Most Viral on Imgur]. That’s over 40 in a row (I don’t know the exact number), but other than one or two genuine dumps in February, everything has gone viral.
In almost all my dumps I would use my nickname in the title especially the word Mohstly. This was because not all memes were fresh, they were just some I found very amusing or interesting and the Imgur community can be brutal if you make false accusations. So I started using ‘Mohstly Fresh’ and I deliberately did this to be noticed and make like a trademark or theme only associated with me.
Also people started quoting ‘Mohstly’ back to me and started making other words with it like Mohning, almohst and when people in comments would put words like Most or Mostly the users would correct them with Mohst and Mohstly.
So I knew I was onto something. Also when tags came out I tagged them all with MohAki1. Again for marketing purposes. A few people have made their own posts and used my tag.
Also around early March I got users who called me a thief because I stole from Ebaumsworld. I never heard of them. I enquired further and what I found out was they said my dumps were in the same order as theirs and got called a liar when I said I didn’t copy or know what they were talking about.
I asked for a link and eff me there it was, but the release date was eight hours after mine. [Someone] was literally downloading my dumps and posting them there. He did this four times. So I decided to set up there also on 13th March [and] I now have over two million points there. Their points are like views on Imgur. So they have [a smaller] audience.
By way of note, I’m almost at one million points on Imgur and that equates to approximately 36 million views by my estimate. The majority of people don’t have accounts on Imgur so they can’t vote and some just don’t vote! I did this in just over 3 months and I wasn’t even posting until 40 days ago.
Also around the 20th of March I decided to set up Twitter as people were asking for this @Moh_Aki1. I post my dumps there too. I haven’t invested time into growing that as Imgur takes up so much time. I need help with this and am glad you found me!
htxt.africa As many have asked before: where do these images come from and how do you manage to find so many of them every day?
MohAki1 Trade secret, but the sites vary depending on the freshest themes and where there are fresh memes in general. The memes I choose are also important. I use multiple lenses to pick memes. Like themes, what I like, what my friends like, [whether they’re] interesting, [whether they] can make you cringe. But you need to at least laugh about it.
It’s funny, when I post on Imgur and Ebaumsworld, these same websites use the ones they didn’t have from my posts, so it’s getting cycled around and more difficult to get fresh [pictures]!
People are asking me how long I can keep this up and honestly I don’t know. For now I enjoy it and it fits into my real life. As long as people enjoy it and it makes them smile and laugh, that’s the most important thing.
htxt.africa In a typical image dump, how many of the pictures did you make yourself?
MohAki1 Most of the times, none and sometimes fillers here and there. The most I’ve put in is three at a time and in two dumps I used them as the thumbnail/cover. I’m not a great memer myself. There are far more skilled people out there and these dumps are tribute to them and they help promote them.
htxt.africa How long does an average post take you to create?
MohAki1 It takes between three and four hours a day to find, compile and manage a dump, including commentary and private chats. It’s getting longer!
htxt.africa When we interviewed another famous Imgur user, ANewBadlyPhotoshoppedPhotoofMichaelCeraEveryday, he told us that he had a few unpleasant experiences with the site. Everything from push back from users who didn’t like what he was doing to death threats. Have you experienced anything like that?
MohAki1 Sadly, yes. And If I just listened to them, I would’ve stopped by now. I’ve had the pro-Trumps, anti-Trumps, vegans, feminists and pro-transgender push back on me. [They’ve tried to] censor me, but my motto is that the Imgur post allows for meaningful discussions to take place so it can promote these things that you are telling me I am anti about. I believe almost everyone and everything is meme-able and memes can help us look at things in a funny way. It’s a good thing.
I also get the downright haters and just awful people. Yes I have been threatened.
And then there are the people that just don’t want me on the front page. They deliberately sabotage my posts when launched and harass other users. These are sad individuals. I’ve even had a million points guy trying to devalue my name. Very petty stuff. I don’t understand people who want to make you hurt in order to make themselves feel better or important.
But the overwhelming support and praise keeps me going in fact only the other day the user iwonderifyoureadmysuername wrote a post about Imgur and how my post that came up at the right time stopped him from suicide, WOW. This is rewarding stuff, but also highlights the responsibility. A lot of users have told me I have changed their lives. And that makes me happy. I still talk to this person.
There’s [also] a running joke about me having a factory to produce these posts and meme selection. A gif also, made me laugh. And there are a number of memes that people made for me. Here are some:
htxt.africa Do your family or friends know about your internet celebrity?
MohAki1 NO, for various reasons. I’m only internet famous, whatever that means.
htxt.africa Are you going to put your experiences entertaining thousands on your next job application?
- MohAki1 would also like to thank the users ImmaNeedBoutTreeFiddy, therealvexed and HydroAnarchy that he talks to regularly as well as the Imgur community which makes his posts so popular.