I’m so confused right now.
There’s this thing spreading around Twitter right now. It looks like it may be a virus — but it’s not. It’s just thousands of people all tweeting the same thing: “Sometimes I just want to copy someone else’s status, word for word, and see if they notice.” Some are retweets, but most are just people manually entering those words and sending them out to all their followers. I get it, it’s funny. But it’s not that funny. And yet, everyone seems to be doing it.
Why? Well, it seems to be more of a human nature/psychological thing than anything else. I’ve asked a number of people I know who actually did tweet those words why they did it. So far, they’ve all replied that they thought they were being cute and that they were the first to do it. That’s the thing, if you were the first to do this, it would be funny. And even if you only think you’re the first to do it, it’s funny. So in a way, it speaks to a unified sense of comedy. “It’s a beautiful thing,” says my colleague Robin Wauters, who yes, tweeted it out earlier.
Memes are obviously nothing new on Twitter. But most involve some sort of silly hashtag — or yes, a virus/bot that just spews out nonsense. This is different. This is human nature. It’s like if I tweeted out “don’t retweet this” — dozens of people automatically would. And that seems to be exactly what happened here, only those dozens also had dozens of other followers who did the same and those had dozens who did the same, and so on.
It’s like a naturally replicating human-made virus. It’s one that’s currently spreading across the world — each new instance speaking a little bit to how we’re all the same. It’s a beautiful thing.
Update: According to Stephen Ou who did the advanced Twitter Search, user DazWolf may have been the first to tweet the phrase two days ago via text message. Notice that the first “,” has been lost along the way in this game of Ultimate Telephone — but two more have been added…