Abstract: This paper focused on observations of a community on a social media platform. Within the paper, I explored why the community is classified as a community, discussed the traditions of the group, as well as described the language associated with the community. In addition to the fore-mentioned components, I also included the emotional connection between the community and the show the hashtag originates from. These assessments were made after intently observing the community for a period of time. 

Twenty-five years ago on September 22nd, the first episode of “FRIENDS” aired on television. The show depicts the life of six friends living in New York City. The main characters, Chandler, Monica, Ross, Rachel, Phoebe, and Joey, are all in their late twenties experiencing the waves of adulthood. Issues such as unemployment, relationship battles – both intimate and platonic- infertility, drug use, etc… were in some shape or another fashioned into the story line of each character on the show, making the show relatable to almost every age group. The series graced the entertainment industry with ten years of memories. Netflix has kept up the show’s legacy by streaming all ten seasons for fans, both old and new. 

In respect to the twenty-fifth anniversary of the show, fans worldwide publish content using the hashtag “#friends25”. The hashtag is used on multiple social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. As you type in the hashtag in the instagram search tab, many similar hashtags appear. It is shown that this particular hashtag contains over 48.5 thousand posts; each time I type in the hashtag, the number increases. When you click the first option, the image of the hashtag shows a family portrait-like picture of the six friends on the left of the screen. The right side gives users the option to click the bold baby blue “Follow” icon to see top posts on your newsfeed. Below memes, clips, and cast photos are arrayed in rows of threes. The twitter page for this same hashtag is distinctly different. Twitter first gives you the option to follow the official FRIENDS twitter account this hashtag is attached to which has over 474.1 thousand followers. Similar to twitter, Facebook gives results of posts made by the official FRIENDS facebook page in which this hashtag is usually used. 

As previously mentioned, the accounts and hashtag have thousands upon thousands of followers. Under the posts, fans communicate with each other and express their emotions on the throwback clips, modern day images of the cast, and the memes. The community not only interacts through comments but posts as well. Memes usually carry a message using subtle, hysterical methods. By using the hashtag, one can communicate their notion towards a particular episode or event happening in regards to the show or the anniversary celebration. In the beginning of my research I assumed this community only contained inhabitants in America. After conducting some more research, I read comments that were in Spanish, French, Mandarin, Portuguese, and a few other languages. This depicted the diversity of the community. To my knowledge, there isn’t one particular leader of this hashtag. It is derived from the official friends page on these particular social media platforms. Majority of the participants of this community are between the ages of seventeen and late thirties. 

Most communities have a language that is distinct to their group. I wouldn’t say this community has a language; simply terms and phrases that are significant to the show. A famous reference – and one of my favorites – that causes quite a controversy amongst the community is the statement, “WE WERE ON A BREAK!” by Ross after him and his partner, Rachel, split up. Scrolling through facebook, I saw a post during the Tekashi 69 trial. The meme had an image of Tekashi on trial where he was asked “Is that all Mr. 69?” He replied, “Ross cheated on Rachel.” Below is an image of red, angry Ross yelling with the words, “WE WERE ON A BREAK” in efforts of clearing his name yet again. Based on all the memes on this line, this had to be my favorite. The creator combined two popular memes and the context of both memes fit so well together and complement each other very well. Another classic phrase is “How you doin’?”. This phrase is made popular by the character Joey. This was the line he’d use to finesse a female or to alert his friends and the audience that he’s seen a female that peaked his interest. In other terms, Chandler is known as the sarcastic character. Buzfeed.com has a list of thirty-two quotes of Chandler’s sarcasm. His famous line being “OH MY GOD”. To a non-FRIENDS fan, this would seem like a regular phrase everyone uses; however, the tone of the phrase is significantly heard when captioned under an image of Chandler. 

In the social media world, there is a debate between which show is better; FRIENDS or The Office. On October 14th, 2019, a friend of mine shared a post on Facebook concerning FRIENDS (Gôrdôn, 2019). The post discussed the individual’s disapproval of the content of the show and how “un-fucking funny that shitty show actually is”. My friend then shared the post with the caption, “These are the same niggas that like the office.” This created a slight uproar that day. Another friend knows I watched the show and tagged me in the discussion saying, “Yooooo they dissed your show”. The other comments refuted my friend’s caption of the office. After this interaction, I decided to construct a poll on my instagram page. I knew a good amount of my followers either follow the FRIENDS trend or The Office trend. The poll question stated, “Which show do you prefer to watch?” I gave the two options with the two shows and asked if anyone would share their opinions on their choice as well. The post was made visible for twenty-four hours. Fifty-six percent of responders said they preferred FRIENDS over The Office for reasons such as “Friends was more relatable and funny to me” – (Elisabeth J., 2019) , and “The office sucks. I’ve never met a show so boring and uninteresting in my life.” – (Arrielle M., 2019)  A few stated that they still love The Office and that its a “close call” but they chose FRIENDS as a first choice. 

Overall, as someone who has watched the show but not interacted with the #friends25 community, I found this experiment very informational. I’ve gathered that many under these posts relate to the show in a personal manner. I, for one, learned a lot about the concept of friendship by watching this show and implemented it in my own life. Others under posts shared how the show has flickered hope in their situations. Even though the community is just a hashtag on social media, it gives a constant reminder of all the positive aspects in life. Reminiscing on an era where life wasn’t so hectic brings joy to some fans as was expressed under another post. This community creates a space where one can celebrate the achievements, laughs and other highlights the show has contributed to society on an emotional spectrum. 


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