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I WANT THE OLD FAFEBOOK BACK THIS SHIT IS WACK has become the titular phrase when referring to a specific massive “user error” and resulting epic thread of satirical mockery that occurred on ReadWriteWeb in February of 2010. Because of the short lifespan, this serves as an example of how a short-lived but massive occurrence can be considered a meme.
On February 10th, ReadWriteWeb published a story called “Facebook Wants to Be Your One True Login” detailing the recent announcment that Facebook was partnering with AOL to tie together the popular social networking site with AOL instant Messenger.
Many (see: noobs) who use Google for everything, rather than bookmarking sites or typing URLs in the address bar, Googled “Facebook login” and found the ReadWriteWeb article. Those users seemed to be under the false impression that ReadWriteWeb was the new Facebook, mistaking RWW’s Facebook Connect integration for being a part of Facebook itself, and were enraged at their inability to access their Facebook pages directly from RWW.
Interspersed with each instance of genuine rage came sarcastic remarks WRITTEN IN ALL CAPS with the seemingly mandatory speling erors that are included whenever writing the typical lolspeak.
By the next day, RWW published a follow-up story, declaring the previous day’s occurrence a meme, in their story How Google Failed Its Users and Gave Birth To an Internet Meme."
Later that day, the story was submitted to Digg.com where the story received 156 digs and 450 views over the course of three days, which in the long run was fairly mediocre. But on FARK, the conversation was nothing short of epic.
On February 11th, a thread entitled “Some Facebook users are so dense light bends around them (readwriteweb.com)” gathered 46807 clicks, and 237 Comments.
The story was also quickly mentioned in many forums across the web.
- Don’t Mention the words “facebook” or “login” – Cracked Forums
- Google Tricked stupid Facebook users! Hilarious! – NeoGaf Forums
- Stupid Facebook Users Tricked by Google – FiveEight Forums
- Morons Confuse Article About Facebook With Actual Facebook – Twoplustwo Forums
- Comedy goldmine as webmongs get lost on the way to Facebook – b3ta.com links
- Facebook Users Show Just How Special They Are – Something Awful Forums
Measuring the impact of this meme is difficult because of the wide variance in each instance. Not all instances necessarily use the same terms. Instead, the meme exists in the practice of sarcastically complaining about not being able to use Facebook from ReadWriteWeb, in a variety of styles.
This is best reflected by examining RWW’s traffic, as reported by Quantcast.
As you can see, in traffic to ReadWriteWeb surged to nearly 210,000 hits in a single day. Their previous best was just under 105,000.
Although this meme was destined to have a short life span, this should not be mistaken as a disqualifying factor for categorization as a meme. The sudden outpouring of user-generated satire in the comments was enormous, and participatory, and contagious at that. While the meme loses power due to the fading value of the context over time, it remains a noteworthy example of a sudden meme, almost like a virtual flash mob.
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