The coronavirus pandemic and resultant lockdowns have led to a plethora of new content on the internet. With nothing else to do other than staying at home with just internet at their disposal and more free time than ever, people have turned into home chefs, TikTok stars, Online Astrologers, Yoga gurus, the works. But one of the most bizarre, if impressive, products to come out of the pandemic is a Facebook group. And with almost 2 million members, it’s arguably the largest functional Facebook group in its history.
Usually Facebook groups are a great way to connect, network and share useful information with people within the same niche, profession or interests. On this group though, the only thing connecting the members is an innate desire to pretend to be ants.
“A group where we all pretend to be ants in an ant colony” was created towards the last year, but started attracting massive momentum and new members in the last couple of months, as countries around the world went into strict lockdowns. The group stands at 1.9 million followers today – one of the largest functional Facebook groups in existence. Its agenda is simple. Members post content as ants would do, if they could speak and had a Facebook that is.
Getting your submission through isn’t as simple though. Each post goes through the watchful eyes of the hundred plus admins and moderators – American college students – who monitor it for compliance with rules of the group. Any non-ant related post is disapproved.
The group buzzes all day with plenty of ant action. The “ants” regularly post about their struggles, their wins, and their sugary-sweet ‘finds.’ Their one-point agenda is to please the mythical queen ant. The posts are hilarious, and all trending memes are repurposed to suit the ant narrative.
Sometimes the members take the ant love offline.
Comments throng in by the thousands to advise, salute and egg on the ant in question, L I K E T H I S – a format that’s become unique to the group.
However the group isn’t limited to regaling its members with the ant-ics of the laborious insect. Its members have found a timely way to monetise the unprecedented traction. The group has its own merchandise store listed on marketplace ‘Bonfire’ selling hoodies, tshirts and coffee mugs emblazoned with Ant-y captions like “B I T E”, “W O R K”, “E A T”. Most of the products are priced between $25-30 and the owners claim that half of the sales proceeds go to a nature conservation cause.
“While we can’t share exact revenue numbers, we have sold around 2500 items in the last 4 weeks”, Tyrese Childs, the 20-year old creator of the group exclusively told OfficeChai. Not bad numbers for a group that’s come into its own only in the last few months, and is run entirely by college students.
In a world that’s endlessly distraught by the coronavirus pandemic and millions are on the verge of losing their employment, this virtual ant colony dedicatedly goes on about its daily hustle, just like the hard-working creature it represents.
Update: The group has decided to do away with the spacing in comments so as to make the text more friendly for the visually-impaired.