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Pants Status may have first appeared textually in electronic communications when programmer Conrad Parker posted a “Pants Status” Linux terminal program on his personal website in 1999. The package was soon included in the main build tree for the Verge Linux distribution, which can be download here.
However, this is not where the “Pants Status” we the twitter meme originated.
Minnesotan documentary filmmaker and general pants enthusiast Chuck Olsen announced his first Pants Status via Twitter in 2006.
KYM recently caught up with Chuck to find out some more details.
KYM: Do you remember the first time you tweeted your pants status?
Chuck: I don’t remember the first time I tweeted my pants status. Sadly, Twitter doesn’t let us go back to the beginning of my timeline. The oldest I’m allowed to see is this in Aug 2007: Pants status: Recently frozen. But I’m sure I had plenty of pants status action in 2006. I’ve attached a couple tweets where I tried to get Xeni Jardin’s attention with the power of Pants Status (unsuccessfully.) [see pictures section below]
KYM: What motivated you to tweet your pants status?
Chuck: I just found it funny, was bored and wanted to think of something new to do with twitter. People have asked me what it’s about, but I try not to define it. One hand clapping kinda thing.
KYM: When did you first notice others tweeting their pants status?
Chuck: I’ve sometimes seen friends on Twitter do a pants status over the last couple of years. There was one day recently when @Sockington the cat and @anamariecox did a pants status on the same day and I thought, “OMG, Pants Status just jumped the shark.” Craig Newmark mentioned it too.
Bre Pettis made pantsstatus.com some time ago and sent me the link, which I thought was cool but I stopped paying attention to it. Until recently I was oblivious to Bre’s blog post promoting pants status as “what you tweet when someone leaves their phone unattended.” Bre is good at creating and pushing memes. For the record, I think Pants Status is much more cosmic / less specific than that narrow definition, but it’s a fun way to use it.
KYM: Why no #hashtag?
Chuck: I never used a hashtag because I don’t think hashtags were used that much yet when I first started Pants Statussing. At least, I wasn’t in the habit of using them.
As Chuck mentioned, Pants Status really took off when Bre Pettis and Dave Clausen launched pantsstatus.com on June 11th, 2008, allowing anyone anywhere to monitor the status of pants worldwide. Bre also posted this PDF on how to write a Pants Status module.
Because most of the biggest memes on the internet manifest as image macros, flash animations, and videos, they are quickly shared with massive audiences on various platforms.
Twitter memes that break out into become anything more than a trending topic are a rarity because they are tied to Twitter by definition and thus they are more likely to have far less reach as “inside-jokes”, dependent on a platform.
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