There have been several twists and turns in the evolution of Twitter as it grew from elite gathering place for journalists and early adopters to open forum for the masses. One of the latest chapters in this saga has been the appropriation of inside-joke Twitter memes, once confined to a small core of bloggers, by unending hordes of regular people.
Today saw the reemergence of a meme that we're calling the “Sign Bunny.” If you've never seen this meme, here's an example:
|￣￣￣￣￣ ￣| | KILL | | ME | | NOW | | ＿＿＿＿＿_ | (\__/) || (•ㅅ•) || / づ— Eric Geller (@ericgeller) September 16, 2014
No one knows the origins of the Sign Bunny. A Topsy search was inconclusive, but we know the meme had previously made the rounds in Media Twitter as a sarcastic “GREAT UNBIASED REPORTING” sign. One source guessed it started with Twitter-famous subtweeting cat @SubtweetCat, but the cat vehemently denied this to the Daily Dot.
In any event, for a long time, the Sign Bunny, like many other memes, enjoyed brief bouts of popularity before once again submerging beneath the ever-churning waves of Twitter's "hot new thing."
Today, however, was different. Today was the day that the Sign Bunny escaped its cage.
It started with this tweet from Tumblr's Amber Gordon to the Daily Dot's Cooper Fleishman:
@_Cooper |￣￣￣￣￣ ￣| | GURL | | PLEASE | | | | ＿＿＿＿＿_ | (\__/) || (•ㅅ•) || / づ— Amber (@missambear) September 16, 2014
Gordon then tweeted this public Sign Bunny to her followers:
|￣￣￣￣￣ ￣| | THANKS | | 4 THE | | FAVES | | ＿＿＿＿＿_ | (\__/) || (•ㅅ•) || / づ— Amber (@missambear) September 16, 2014
The people in Gordon's social circle—and the people in those peoples' social circles—took it from there.
|￣￣￣￣￣ ￣| | I LEAVE | | TWITTER | | FOR 2 MIN | | ＿＿＿＿＿__| (\__/) || (•ㅅ•) || / づ pic.twitter.com/PzbcUvuvjj— Taylor Lorenz (@TaylorLorenz) September 16, 2014
As they birthed new Sign Bunnies and stuffed them with funny jokes, these Twitter users likely didn't realize the dangers of the Sign Bunny breaking out of its containment. Before long, however, the Sign Bunny metastasized from Media Twitter to the general public.
|￣￣￣￣￣ ￣| | LOOK AT | | ALL THESE | | BASICS | | ＿＿＿＿＿_ | (\__/) || (•ㅅ•) || / づ https://t.co/FVdzhfWsqi— Tim (@TimHerrera) September 16, 2014
Oddly, if you scroll down to find pre-media-circlejerk Sign Bunnies, it was all One Direction fandom.
@Harry_Styles |￣￣￣￣￣ ￣| | HARRY | FOLLOW | | ME | | PLEASE | | ＿＿＿＿＿_ | (\__/) || (•ㅅ•) || / づx64— Harry Styles (@WhatLovelyHarry) September 16, 2014
Media Twitter quickly took notice of what it had wrought.
|￣￣￣￣￣ ￣| | WHAT | | DID I | | START | | ＿＿＿＿＿_ | (\__/) || (•ㅅ•) || / づ— Amber (@missambear) September 16, 2014
Media Twitter and Weird Twitter fornicated and made an offspring. pic.twitter.com/mCuDyaxNC7— Iva Dixit (@ivadixit) September 16, 2014
Some even mocked the spread of the meme in the context of Twitter's supposed journalistic merits.
|￣￣￣￣￣ ￣| | FUTURE | | OF | | NEWS | | ＿＿＿＿＿__| (\__/) || (•ㅅ•) || / づ— Neetzan Zimmerman (@neetzan) September 16, 2014
Others got political.
|￣￣￣￣￣￣ | | (\__/) || | | (•ㅅ•) || | | / づ 2016 | |＿＿＿＿＿＿| (\__/) || ( ツ ) || / づ— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) September 16, 2014
Brands and news sites weren't far behind.
|￣￣￣￣￣ ￣| | Gosling | | is a | | DILF | | ＿＿＿＿＿__| (\__/) || (•ㅅ•) || / づ— BuzzFeed (@BuzzFeed) September 16, 2014
|￣￣￣￣￣ ￣| | LOOK | | AT | | THE BUTTS | | ＿＿＿＿＿__| (\__/) || (•ㅅ•) || / づ http://t.co/dQO1Him1If— Laura Hibbard (@LauralizHibbard) September 16, 2014
|￣￣￣￣￣ ￣| | DENNY'S | | IS LOVE, | | LIFE | | ＿＿＿＿＿_ | (\__/) || (•ㅅ•) || / づ— Denny's (@DennysDiner) September 16, 2014
As usual, Darth was on top of his game:
DARTH'D pic.twitter.com/va3J8hKsGb— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) September 16, 2014
Meanwhile, back in Normalville...
￣￣￣￣￣ ￣￣| | FOLLOW | ME | | PLEASE | | ＿＿＿＿＿＿＿| (\__/) || (•ㅅ•) || / づ. @ladygaga 33— s (@granthisway) September 16, 2014
|￣￣￣￣￣￣| |FOLLOW ME | | PLEASE | | I LOVE YOU | |＿＿＿＿＿＿| (\__/) || (•ㅅ•) || @NashGrier / づx49— Please Madison♛ (@drewxotas) September 16, 2014
The community that had helped the Sign Bunny spread almost immediately soured on the concept.
my notifications and activity columns look like a surrealist protest march rn— Rusty Foster (@rustyk5) September 16, 2014
attn dailybot that tweet was “unrestrained glee” not sourness pls correct thx http://t.co/RVCegb81uM— Rusty Foster (@rustyk5) September 16, 2014
As the dust began to settle, Gordon expressed her regret. When asked for comment, she told the Daily Dot, “I'm sorry.”
i’m ruining twitter— Amber (@missambear) September 16, 2014
If nothing else, the explosion of Sign Bunny was good for this writer's follower count.
Update: We’re calling the Sign Bunny’s time of death at 4:54pm ET, when the New York GOP tweeted this. (As we all know, the Doge meme died when the Republican Party took it over.)
Look at what you people did. I hope you're happy with yourselves. pic.twitter.com/hzgwCtqFBM— Ben Jacobs (@benhjacobs) September 16, 2014
Lead art via Kelly Weill