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A Common Experience
Just as people have read books while lying in bed for decades, many people have found themselves browsing the web, reading email, and text messaging on the phone while in bed in recent years. A common experience that many bed-texters identify with is the awkward, painful, and mildly humiliating feeling of dropping one’s phone onto one’s own face.
Spread of the ’iPhone Stickman" iteration
This comic of unknown origin has appeared on my popular blogs and other sites serving as “amplifiers.”
- Boredom.net June 2010.
- MakeUseOf.com 59 Facebook “Likes”, Over 5,000 StumbleUpon Upvotes,
- 9gag.com Posted February 2011. 398 Likes.
- imgfave Faved by 165 users, added to 10 collections.
- PlanoBeta January 2011, in Spanish.
Sightings in Rage Comics
The “I hate it when I drop my phone on my face while texting in bed” scenario has been played out in a few Rage comics. It’s unclear if each iteration was a deliberate re-creation or was created without prior exposure to one another.
“Liked” On Facebook
As of June, 2011 there are 32 Facebook fan pages for this situation, most with thousands of “Likes.” Here are just a few.
- I Have Dropped My Phone On My Face While Laying Down Texting (over 800,000 likes)
- Texting While Lying Down and Dropping Your Phone On Your Face
- i hate when you drop your phone on your face while texting in bed
Asked on Yahoo Questions
By searching for a specific phrase in quotes using wildcards in the right places, while limiting the search to only results that come from Twitter’s domain, we can see how many tweets Google has cached that pertain to our situation.
The query is:
“drop* phone on * face” site:Twitter.com
Google returns over 25,000 results. A conservative assumption would be that there are even more results for the phrase that Google hasn’t cached or is no longer caching.
This scenario has been created and recreated in web comics and social networks in a way that suggests that it is a common experience that many sympathize with, having experienced it first-hand.
There seems to be no reasonable explanation for why one would attempt to refine or rework the existing concept. Unlike a snowclone, madlib, or other meme that compels its hosts to create new derivatives, the mutation doesn’t seem to add any apparent value. A single iteration serves nearly the same purpose as most other iterations.
It should be noted that it’s entirely possible that the creators of some iterations are “stealing” the idea from others without ever having dropped their phones on their faces, but the motivation behind such behavior is dumbfounding (to this author at least.)