TTYL, AIM. LYLAS.

Well, it’s the end of an era. Our childhood is dying and we are all dinosaurs.

Last week, the folks at AOL announced that its trailblazing program, Instant Messenger, would be shutting down for good in December.

Like many millennials, I haven’t used AIM in years, but it was such an integral part to our lives when the internet was just becoming a thing in the late 90s/early 2000s. Before Snapchat, Instagram, GChat, Twitter, Facebook, and kinda before texting, there was AIM. It was social networking before we knew what social networking was. We’d spend all day at school with friends, only to go home and turn on AIM to talk to friends some more. We’d perfect our AIM profiles with the right quotes and shoutout to friends using their initials – it was a precursor to perfect a Facebook profile. It’s where we first learned how to abbrev – “brb”, “a/s/l?”, “nm, u?” etc. AIM let us make our first internet identities with vague SNs (screennames duh) that gave others a hint of our interests and/or hobbies (one of my first ones had “BSB” in it). We’d sneakily put our crush’s SNs on our buddy lists and get giddy when we heard the sound of the door opening and their name flash up on our ~*u kNo wHo*~ buddy list (1/1). If we were super bored, we’d open a new window for Smarter Child and see what they were up to. We’d put up elaborate away messages with way more info than we ever should’ve given out. Or if you’re like me, you’d just keep an away message on 24/7 even though you’re sitting in front of your computer and not, in fact, away.

Because I’m a hoarder of sorts – I like memories, OK – I was one of those people who installed a secondary program which automatically logged conversations with my friends. My archive only goes back to like, 2004 right before I started college, but boy oh boy did I find some gems. Re-reading all these got me thinking – why? Just why? But also, making an away message was like a first generation Facebook status update (IE: “Traci is… really upset that her VCR decided not to tape the last 5 minutes of the American Idol finale.”) It told a story about your mood, what you were doing, where you were doing it, who you were do it with, who you were thinking about while doing the thing – it gave a lot of details away – information superhighway, amirite?? After going through my archives, I noticed a few trends that made AIM the iconic fly trapped in amber that it is. Here are some of my favorite/questionable away messages, not only of my own, but also of some of my friends. Don’t worry, your identities are protected. To reiterate, these are REAL.

Various Ways to “Hit the Cell”

Following the popularity of AIM, cell phones became more and more common, specifically for use of the texting feature, which was basically like a portable version of AIM. So when you couldn’t sit and have a conversation with your friend because you’re in class, hit them on their Motorola Razor and you’d get in touch instantly. But what we needed to put at the end of the away message was the prompt. And as for me, I know I wanted variety. I can’t say, “leave love or hit the cell” all the time. Which is why some popular variations of this included, “cells good”, “hit the digits”, “make it vibrate” “make it ring”, “cell’s avail”, just in case you were confused that my phone WASN’T available. These days I don’t want anyone to contact me at all.

Deep Song Lyrics

“Deep” is a relative term. Here I am using lyrics from underrated Journey song “Don’t Stop Believin'”, which in my defense, was like our high school group’s theme song.

Ashlee Simpson? Yeah I guess I can’t really defend that.

I was a theater nerd. I went to a college with other theater nerds. This is actually too mainstream theater for school standards.

A Convo Between Friends IRL

First off, I’d like to say I was not offended by this conversation. Second, this was what AIM was really for. Having funny convos with friends and showing it off online to your other friends.

A Convo Between Friends on AIM

And the other half is having “hilarious” convos with friends online and copy and pasting into an away message because that’s cool. This isn’t even that funny. But it was funny to us at the time. A majority of our away messages were inside jokes that 5% of your buddy list would understand. But we did it anyways.

Taking a Shower

Like, why? Why did we do this?

Legitimate Schedule of Events

To continue from the shower bit, why? It was certainly a different time in terms of people being able to easily find your information and cyberstalk you, but we got so specific with our schedules. This was my friend’s day as an acting major.

this is my friend/co-worker who specifically asked his friends to call him, because, yes, that’s right, he has a life.

Meanwhile, I also gave a breakdown of the imporatant events in my day – a nightly TV schedule. And the last line isn’t a shout out to my homestate. It’s literally the VH1 reality TV program “I Love New York” featuring Tiffany “New York” Pollard.

Some Kind of Countdown

The away message not only told people when you were away and what you were doing when you were away, but it told a story of your future. Another popular trend was a countdown to whatever event you were looking forward to. “6 Days Until Spring Break!”, “1 More Day Until DF, TW, & SP ARRIVE!”, and “T-Minus 4 days until Project Turkey”, which was a thing I used freshman years of college for a v embarrassing thing.

Elaborate Text Art

I was such a sucker for these. It took creativity and skill to make an elaborate away message, even if it was just a few words (that could’ve been shortened to BRB).

Remember wingdings?! Or was this a webding? I could never tell the difference.

Farewell AIM, we’ll miss you. Put up a good away message for us before you go, ok?

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Fixed It For Ya: Popular Tweets, Inflated To 280 Characters

The 140-character tweet is pulling a 280, like it or not. It feels a bit like your third-grade teacher assigning a haiku then saying “but it can be as long as you want.” That’s not a haiku, it’s free verse; 280 characters isn’t a tweet, it’s a screed. Besides, with so much vile speech spewing from Twitter, do we really need it to be twice as long?

To play around with the new confines, I’m looking at some of the most-liked and most-retweeted tweets of all time  and inflating them to 280 characters.

A note: most of these come in well under Twitter’s 140 character limit to begin with, and that’s the real takeaway here. Even if the Twitter character limit doubles, you can still be as brief as you wanna be.

Before:

After:

HELP ME GOD, OH MY DEAR LORD, WON’T THE PEOPLE OF TWITTER COME TO MY AID, PLEASE. I IMPLORE YOU. A MAN – THIS MAN, ME, CARTER WILKERSON, NEEDS HIS NUGGS. NUGGETS. I NEED NUGGETS AND I NEED YOUR RETWEETS. THERE ARE 18 MIL RETWEETS BETWEEN ME AND ONE YEAR’S SUPPLY OF WENDYS NUGGETS

Before:

After:

If only Bradley’s arm was longer. If only Angelina lifted her head a few inches. If only four subjects weren’t in the same outfit. If only we had included one unattractive person for contrast. If only we had all agreed on a filter. This would truly be the Best photo ever. #oscars

Before:

After:

Hi everybody! Back to the original handle. Is this thing still on? Ok good. Michelle and I are “off on a quick vacation” AKA I’m still president but we can’t tell the other guy. DON’T TELL HIM, OK. Gotta make it look like I’m Eat Pray Loving for 2 wks then we’ll get back to work.

Before:

After:

LIMONADA.x
I’M INTERNET FAMOUS & COULD PUT ANY RANDOM NOUN/EMOJI COMBO HERE & GET A CRAZY NUMBER OF RTs. IT WAS LIMONADA🚊 BUT COULD’VE BEEN
BIBLIOTECA🚀
OR
MAQUILLAJE 🧗‍♂️
OR
PAYASO🕰️
REMEMBER THAT REALLY CLEVER QUIP YOU MADE YESTERDAY THAT GOT 0-2 LIKES?
ANYWAY HERE’S LIMONADA

The Man Behind the Meme: Distracted Boyfriend

Me. Work. The last viral meme of the summer.

You’ve seen it, the “Distracted Boyfriend” meme that made its rounds on the internet over the past couple weeks. It starts with the picture:

Then text is added to label each person in the photo. The guy is subject, the girl in red is whatever is distracting the subject, and the girl in blue is whatever the subject should be paying attention to.

According to The Meme Documentation Tumblr, the meme first started in January and used by a Turkish Facebook group dedicated to progressive rock (of all things).

But of course it nothing happened with this Turkish group’s meme for months, until August, when a Twitter user kept the format but rejigged the text, and it went viral:

So what’s the deal with this photo anyways? It’s clearly not a candid of a couple on the rocks. The man behind the meme is 45-year-old photographer Antonio Guillem from Barcelona. He works for a company which produces the stock photos we see online, and focuses on people as subjects, instead of objects like cups of coffee or picturesque landscapes. Antonio usually works with the same people, including the “couple” in this photo, who he’s deemed “Mario” and “Laura”. A couple years ago, Antonio felt like he needed to shake up the scenes of his photo series, so he went with this jealousy storyline. “We decided to take a few risks, planning a session representing the infidelity concept in relationships in a playful and fun way,” he told Wired Magazine.

So, Antonio, “Mario”, “Laura” and misc. model who doesn’t work for the company anymore, went to a cobblestoned city in Gerona, Spain, and proceeded with their photoshoot. Just imagine seeing this play out IRL. It obviously garnered some attention.

“It was quite challenging to achieve face expressions that were believable,” Antonio said. “Mainly because we always have a really great work atmosphere, and almost all the time one of the models was laughing while we were trying to take the picture.”

“Mario” added, “I remember that it was kinda embarrassing because there where people watching and laughing, and I had to make this silly face. But in the end, like we always do, I just forgot they were there and did my job. I remember it like a learning experience, and I had fun with my team.” In case you’re interested, here are some photos from the series:

And Antonio is the most surprised out of everyone that a picture he took two years ago has resurfaced in the weirdest way – he didn’t even know what a meme was until his pic went viral. “I never thought that one of my images will be that popular. I didn’t even know what a meme is until recently, when the models started to tell me about the memes that people were doing with our work.”

“Mario” and “Laura” also never saw this viral internet fame coming, but “Laura” says she appreciates the “imagination”people have when coming up with the text. Antonio added, “Regarding what I think about the photo has gone viral, I think the image was a good foundation to whoever had the great idea to turn it into a metaphor that works for almost everything.”

That much is true. Here are some standouts from the last big meme of the summer.

 

actually me while sipping tea:

Onion Ring Instagrams and Other Secret Celebrity Accounts

Celebrities, they’re just like us.

The MSM (Mainstream Media, you dummies) has been under a lot of heat from the current administration, and maybe it’s about time they look to international news outlets, where they’re getting down to the nitty gritty.

Perhaps they can learn a thing or two from New Zealand’s news site Newshub, which was the first outlet to report that their native daughter Lorde may just be secretly running a food-related Instagram account.

While the state of our nation continues to slowly disintegrate into tatters of the United States constitution, the MSM  has at least one priority straight – the alleged secret Instagram account run by Taylor Swift’s BFF Lorde.

New Zealand news site Newshub first reported the story on Tuesday, with the headline “Is this Lorde’s secret onion ring Instagram account?”, noting they received a tip from a 17-year-old fan. The account, @onionringsworldwide, seemed fairly new, with only four posts and 24 followers, including Lorde and a number of her friends.

While @onionringsworldwide, whose bio read, “Every onion ring I encounter, rated”, only had four posts, those four posts each gave plenty of clues leading back to Lorde, according to this 17-year-old fan. Like any good food Intagrammer, each caption included the name of the restaurant said onion ring was acquired from, and a review of the ring. That alone, plus knowing where Lorde is on her promotional tour (and knowing the look of her nails?), helped the fan build a strong case that this account was actually run by Lorde.

Even more evidence that this account was run by non-Royal Lorde? Newshub reached out to her management and they didn’t respond. Instead? The account has since been deleted.

Newshub contacted Lorde’s management to ask whether Lorde likes onion rings, whether she prefers a light batter on her onion rings, and whether she runs the account.

Management had not responded at the time of writing, but shortly after questions were sent through, we’re sad to report the onionringsworldwide account was removed from Instagram.

A few things about this: A) why does it matter if she secretly runs this innocent account? It’s not going to effect her popularity. Why are they treating this like she ran a pro-life Instagram? B) why didn’t her management give a statement or respond at all to Newshub? C) She reviewed a Burger King onion ring, and that just seems like a lost cause.

Listen, if Lorde wants to have some semblance of normality in her life, let her just have an anonymous account, maintaining it while she flies private between Bonaroo and Bev Hills. But she can’t be the only celeb who has a secret social media account, right? I don’t know for sure, but here are my best guesses as to what type of accounts these famous people are managing under the shroud of internet secrecy.

EDIT: LORDE IS ON JIMMY FALLON AS I’M WRITING THIS AND SHE CONFIRMED IT WAS HER ACCOUNT.

She said, “I sort of naively didn’t realize it would be a thing.. it was like a good past time… I deleted it because now people are going to be throwing onion rings (at me) on tour… I don’t think they get enough credit for how delicious they are.”

Ugh. Well, I’m guessing fans are still going to throw onion rings at you. But enjoy this post anyways.

Taylor Swift // Bughead Tumblr

When Taylor is active on her official Tumblr, it’s actually her and she knows how to use those hashtags, so it would only make sense if she had another Tumblr. I imagine she’s one of those hardcore shippers on the site, maybe for Riverdale, specifically for OTP Bughead aka Betty and Jughead. It’s mainly a fanfic site, but she’ll RB a gifset or two – maybe even featuring her own song lyrics.

Kylie Jenner // LOL GOP Twitter

I have no doubt Kylie can be savage af, but it would delight me to no end if she was super into politics and anti-GOP to the core enough to run this account.

Zooey Deschanel // Miniature Food on YouTube

It’s just so twee, just like Zooey’s whole aesthetic.

Adam Scott // Fat Jewish-esque Instagram

I hope that macaroni guy wins 🇫🇷

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If you follow Adam Scott on Twitter, you know two things about him: 1) he’s not afraid to say how much trump sucks balls. 2) he is ridiculous and absurdly funny. I will never forget this dumb peanut butter and jelly joke that lasted lit’rally two years. So it’s not entirely out of his realm to run a comedy/meme account on Instagram.

Rosie O’Donnell // Toy Review on YouTube

We love Rosie. We loved her talk show. As tweens, we were enamored with her love for not only kids like us, but she had a kidlike quality that enabled her to constantly shoot koosh balls in the audience without it being awkward or gimmicky. Plus she loves a good nostalgia item, so these reviews of old toys would be right up her alley.

BJ Novak // His Teen Sister’s Twitter

Well, OK, this is actually true. BJ has been running an account under the name “Keough Novak”, who is supposedly his snarky teen sister. I started following her years ago, when I noticed that BJ’s BFF/Soup Snake Mindy Kaling had been tweeting at her a lot. I obvs stalked her profile and thought she was funny, and it wasn’t until like 2 years later that I found out that BJ had been running the account with his two brothers – I grew suspicious after realizing she wasn’t getting older an was a perpetual 16 year old. BJ said of the account, “If I have a thought that’s superficial or immature, that’s a good thing for Keough to say.” Not only that, but HE DOESN’T EVEN HAVE A SISTER. Lies. Deceit. Hilarity too. Bless.

Kanye West // Slime Shop on Instagram

He may have quit Twitter, but for a guy who calls Steve Jobs one of his idols, I hardly believe he’s completely off social media. Plus, given his love for art, and creativity, I can picture him making these popular slime videos – and perhaps even selling tubs of them out of their Bel-Air mansion.

Barack Obama // Secret Snapchat

In general, he just has a secret Snapchat account. Followers include Malia, Sasha, Joe Biden and Jay Z (who also has a secret account).

 

The Man Behind the Meme: White Guy Blinking

Memes come and go into our lives. Some may be fleeting and some stick around for years. But how often do we know their origin story? Where did it start? Why has it become so popular? If there’s a person in the meme, what do they think of becoming an (internet) household face? Well I can help solve the mystery of one meme – this guy:

Here’s White Guy Blinking, a GIF used to express disbelief, and in most cases a well-known fact or relatable situation.

But who exactly is this guy? Well his name is Drew Scanlon and for certain types, he was already a well-known dude on the internet. He’s a video producer at Giant Bomb, a popular gaming website, and stars in multiple videos and podcasts for the site. So Drew was already used to fans clipping out GIFs of himself from the site, but never as fervent as this.

In fact, the blinking GIF is from a 2013 Giant Bomb show called Unprofessional Fridays. In the video, Drew is watching a co-worker Jeff Gerstmann play a game called Starbound, and while he’s playing, Jeff says, “I’ve been doing some farming with my hoe here…”

Drew’s reaction is naturally the one anyone with a dirty/comical mind would have, and if you’re a GIF maker, you know it’s a perfect reaction shot. But Drew told UK’s The Guardian that he doesn’t really remember shooting this particular video.

“I think a lot of our effort in these videos is spent on getting each other to laugh, to provide things for other people to react to or riff off. My reaction was, I think, part of that.”

And of course, he had no idea that this GIF would resurface four years later. “People have passed around gifs of us for as long as I’ve worked at Giant Bomb,” he told the Guardian. “It’s certainly a first for me.”

And it first recirculated earlier this year with a tweet that has nothing to do with video games, but rather biology class:

A fan sent Drew the biology meme to let him know his GIF lives on, and from that point forward, the RTs were endless and he soon became an international meme.

So how does Drew feel about being right-click saved all around the interwebs? He’s totally cool with it. “I like what memes can do for people. They’re such fun, throwaway things I see. These memes have been generally positive. It’s a little scary because there’s always the danger someone could change it to something different. It’s not like I’ve a say in what the internet does with a gif of my face. But I’m pleased to see people are enjoying it.”

Oh, they are.

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The Twitter Gift That Keeps On Covfefe

gavinThe internet can be a very scary place. And then it can be the greatest thing to ever exist. Exhibit A:

Last night, or rather around midnight Washington, D.C., time, Donald “I have the best words” Trump tweeted “Despite the constant negative press covfefe”. Assuming he meant to type “press coverage”, one would think autocorrect would’ve stopped him from sending out a typo. Or that he would notice immediately after sending it out that he spelled it wrong. Or that one of his staffers would notice it and tell him to take it down. Or that it’s not even a complete sentence. Any of the above. But nope. It stayed up for hours. To give him the benefit of the doubt, maybe he’s just really exhausted and stressed out and gaining weight and can’t think straight. But on the other hand, it could be the bots. Maybe HE is a bot.

A tweet that’s immediately deleted is enough to launch a million response tweets. But the fact that he left it up for SO LONG sent Twitter into a frenzy. And thank GOD. It was like livetweeting an awards show but 10 times funnier. And since Spicey is probably just going to defend DT and somehow make “sense” of it all, let’s just bathe in the comedic aspect of it all because why not, we’re all going to die anyways. Here are just some of our fave responses to what has been described as the most “yes and” exercise ever.

*UPDATE* DT TAKES TWEET DOWN 6 HOURS LATER, MAKES A “JOKE” ABOUT IT.

BONUS: SPICEY DID EXACTLY WHAT WE THOUGHT AND MADE AN EXCUSE FOR HIS BOSS. I REALLY HOPE THAT’S APRIL RYAN YELLING, “WHAT IS COVFEFE?!??”

*******

a v specific comedy tweet:

Claiming Covfefe as a thing before anyone else:

DT has made politicians into comedians:

and Rogue NASA:

and tv shows being shady:

y’all work too quick:

give this social media manager a raise:

this type of joke is the kind that makes me laugh then when i stop laughing, i pause and then laugh again because it’s so dumb and ridiculous it’s so funny that i cry

my exact feelings on this whole kerfuffle:

And a friendly reminder before you go:

How James Blunt’s Self-Awareness Can Teach Us More About Ourselves

You guys know James Blunt, right? No? It’s this guy:

Right. He also had this other tune, but as far as his success in the U.S. goes, he’s a one-hit-wonder. You’re Beautiful came out 12 years ago, and James has never stopped making new music, but around the world, he’s most recognizable for that unique voice that claims his life is brilliant and his life is pure. He’s become a bit of a joke, and I don’t mean that in a mean way, but in the way artists who fall into this one-hit-category do when they reach popularity then seemingly fade into being a civilian again (anyone heard from Gotye lately?).

And like a lot of civilians, James has used Twitter to post quippy remarks about current events and pop culture. But unlike a lot of civilians, James turned to Twitter to fire back at trolls who constantly put him down for his alleged inability to become a star after first finding fame. In fact, over the past year or so, he’s used that criticism to work in his favor. Instead of letting it get to him, James turned it on its head and is fully embracing his one-hit-wonderness. He’s self-aware in the best possible way – and a way that can revive his career again.

To be fair, James has been aces at Twitter since ’09, but it wasn’t until I saw him on the Graham Norton Show a couple weeks ago that I found out about this unique superpower he has.

I did a little research at lo and behold, the dude is funny. He lets you know he knows what you think of him in his Twitter bio alone:

And he knows that he’s got some competition for your hate from another unpopular band:

Nickelback, you guys. James’ entire Twitter feed is full of these gems that make you like him more than you ever hated hearing You’re Beautiful on the radio for the 72nd time in a row.

And as a reward for all the Twitter trolls, he let them know that he’ll be fuelling the fire in 2017:

His new album, The After Love, came out last Friday, and his label’s marketing team got in on the action by using his unpopularity to sell his new record. We’ve reached peak self-awareness here folks. Exhibit A:

Of course, he got in on the action too:

And what could possibly be the best tweet yet:

It’s probably best for James’ own psyche to play the troll game and come out on top, but I think we can all learn from his strategy. Whether it be on social media or in real life, we have to take criticisms from people who we don’t value with a grain of salt.

“I just use (social media) to laugh: not at people posting, but at myself, too, for taking them seriously. At the end of the day, these people don’t work particularly hard to make their criticisms; they don’t drive for hours to see a concert and then say, ‘I didn’t like the concert.’ They’re normally (people) who are posting in the dark in their rooms with their trousers around their ankles.” {James to USA Today x}

And we shouldn’t waste our time on people in dark rooms with their trousers off. Our time’s better spent giving James Blunt chance to become a two-hit-wonder.

Spring Memes Make Me Feel Fine: Meryl Shouting Into The Void

Look, I know we just did a Spring Memes piece a couple weeks ago, but this is too good not to pass up.

Like with all great memes, we can’t be 100% sure where it originated, but what I can tell you that this photo of Meryl Streep that is the basis of the meme is from two years ago when she was whooping for Debbie Reynolds at the SAG Awards. So why is it popping up now? Who knows. Who cares. All I want is a two-line tweet of song lyrics with the second part in all caps lock. That’s all that’s gonna get us through this Friday. Enjoy.

The internet loves Mr. Brightside

Meryl loves Britney, you know it

Podcast lovers only

Are we sure those are the words?

I’m uncomfortable with the mouth but comfortable with this reference

Shoutout to my HSM lovers

Those are the correct lyrics

Real talk tho

Driver roll up the partition please

DAMN!

Natch

But let’s not forget: who slayed it first?

Mom?

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squarespace

hamilton/andrew

Spring Memes Make Me Feel Fine: Obamacare vs. Trumpcare

On Monday, Republicans revealed their plans to replace the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, with a pile of papers called the American Health Care Act, aka Trumpcare. There are a number of controversial changes in the new act, including defunding Planned Parenthood, a complicated tax credit system, and a plan to roll back the expansion of Medicaid in three years’ time. The draft bill basically takes health coverage away from many Americans, most whom are low-income care recipients, while rich Americans would benefit.

In keeping tradition with this administration since November 8th, the draft bill is trash, and people against the AHCA obviously took to the internet to express their opposition, in the form of a Obamacare vs. Trumpcare meme that is making its rounds on the world wide web. Here are just a few faves to warm your resistance spirit.

Is that Bort?

#PinterestFail

That piece will never not be funny

TBH, didn’t even know there was another Mean Girls

Johnny Depp is always a downgrade

Unbreakable

He’ll be back (to take your health care away)

True Detective Season 3: Barack and Joe?

But if we’re talking IRL, OG Aunt Viv is definitely the crazier one.

Is that Jessica Walter??

I can’t stop laughing at this

BARRY.

Perhaps the most accurate one of them all:

Autumn Memes Make Me Feel Fine: The Jobama Bromance

It’s been a week since the World Turned Upside Down™, and if you’re still kind of in a funk, I’m guessing you need as much levity as possible. Thankfully, the Internet never lets us down. I mean it does sometimes, but in cases like this, it doesn’t.

We’re continuing our series of seasonal memes with a Last Term Obama special. Most of us have been living in a nightmare since last Tuesday night, and no one knows it better than Barack Obama himself – the man who has to turn the keys over to a guy who is putting the White back in White House, if you know what I mean. When Barry gave his first speech after the results came him, he stood in the rose garden with his Right Hand Man™ by his side. At one point, good ol’ Joe did the sign of the cross, because that’s what you do when T**mp becomes leader of the free world. Meme makers took note and realized there are a lot more cute moments between Barack and Joe, and decided to take it next level by making them into a meme, specifically aimed at Joe’s disdain towards the president elect.

Here are some of our favorites, and hopefully it can put a smile on your face for a little while! #JobamaForever

 

 

BONUS: