Social media fads such as, say, the Facebook Doppelganger craze, build quickly before disappearing from netizens' collective memories. Such will soon be the fate of a strange Twitter fad: stealing and repeating a phrase ostensibly about...stealing and repeating a phrase. Here's one of the millions of examples:
Sometimes I Just Want To Copy Someone Else’s Status, Word For Word, And See If They Notice http://t.co/wenBaux
TechCrunch writer MG Siegler, who noted, participated in, and examined the trend in detail, finds it more than a little irritating: "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." He explains the decision to copy and paste the line as a case-study in psychology.
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.
If anything, the odd reposting fad might lend weight to Paul Carr's very recent hypothesis about how Tweeting ruins blogging:
And then along came micro-blogging - and, with a finite amount of time and effort available, the blog generation turned into the Twitter (or Facebook) generation. A million blogs withered and died as their authors stopped taking the time to process their thoughts and switched instead to simply copying and pasting them into the world, 140 meaningless characters at a time. The result: a whole lot of sound and mundanity, signifying nothing.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.