Bus meme

This Hero Is Rescuing Every Twitter Meme From the Site’s Collapse

Twitter may be a sinking ship, but one brave soul has committed to preserving the template for every single Twitter meme or joke in a single 100+ page long Google doc.

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Nathan Allebach, who recently went viral for a post explaining how a lack of walkable neighborhoods has helped fuel loneliness among Americans, keeps a Google doc filled with the templates for all the emoji, ASCCI, and text memes he comes across on Twitter. In a link to the doc, Allebach explains that “If the ship goes down you can hold onto these overused jokes, as a treat.”

The Google doc is an artifact that would make archivists drool. It’s comprehensive and impeccably organized, and it even has a key at the beginning explaining how to navigate and use it. Allebach has reportedly been updating the doc for years, although its contents are especially relevant now.

So what’s in it? Here are a few classics you might recognize. (The Xs and Ys are where Twitter users personalize the joke in an effort to pretend it hasn’t long since been run into the ground.)

“mercury isn’t in retrograde you’re just (x)”

“nobody: 
literally no one: 
not a single person in the world:
me: (x)”

“should (x) be (y)?

yes       yes      yes

 ?         ?        ?”

Then there are some more obscure memes and jokes that I personally had never seen before—although that might say more about me than it does about the memes. Like this ASCCI one, which uses slashes and other characters to look like a giant book with your text on its cover:

this week’s book club looks so fun

‪  / / / / /|‬

‪ / / / / / |‬

‪/ / / / /  |‬

‪|~~~|    |‬

‪|===|    |‬

‪| (x)  |   |‬

‪|        |   |‬

‪|        |   |‬

‪|        |  /‬

‪|        | /‬

‪|===|/‬

‪’ — ‘‬

Notably, the doc doesn’t include memes that rely on images grabbed from other sources. It’s only memes that users can create themselves with their keyboards.

Of course, the Google Doc format isn’t ideal. One Twitter user points out that some of the memes don’t show up on screen readers. That problem points to the need to create multiple archives of Internet culture, instead of relying on one volunteer to do it all for everyone.

https://twitter.com/may_gun/status/1593083737801388037

As I write this, Twitter is in danger of literally disappearing at any moment. Maybe it’ll get bailed out and we’ll all breathe a sigh of relief! Or maybe we’ll turn to Nathan Allebach’s Google doc as a last vestige of Twitter culture.

(featured image: via Twitter)


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Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href="https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/">https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/.</a>