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While preparing for Easter weekend festivities, a group of staff members from Fellowship Church in Grapevine, TX got together to attempt a Hadokening photo, which Rob Martinez shared on his Instagram account on March 29th, 2013. Following this, Martinez posted two different images to his Instagram account staging faux choke holds. He used the hashtag #Vadering, encouraging his followers to create their own. The same day, he shared a third image on Twitter (shown below), mentioning fast food restaurant Chick-fil-A, hoping for a retweet.
That same day, Martinez’ Twitter photo was reposted on the /r/pics subreddit, where it garnered more than 16,900 upvotes and 480 comments within a few days. On March 30th, the same photo appeared on 9GAG, where it received similarly positive reviews. In the following days, the hashtag #Vadering continued to spread on Twitter and Instagram, spawning a number of derivative attempts. On April 2nd, Vadering photos were shared on the 501st Legion Facebook page. The same day, the photo fad saw its first blog coverage on Nerd Approved and Neatorama. On April 3rd, Kotaku featured a handful of the Vadering images, resulting in coverage on College Humor, Laughing Squid, Mashable, the Hollywood Gossip and Yahoo! News the same day. Over the course of the next several days, Vadering was featured on My Modern Met, the Daily Dot, the Chive, Geekologie, The FW and MSN Now.
Following the unintentional success of the photo fad, Rob Martinez spoke with the Houston Chronicle about the photos, where he said he did not intend to launch an internet meme. Fellowship Church’s pastor Ed Young Jr. noted that he planned on working in the meme to a sermon, as a small example of a fun thing a church can do to bring people back to serious discussions.
The Houston Chronicle – The force is strong at Fellowship Church in Dallas, as “Vadering” meme takes off
Laughing Squid – Vadering, A New Photo Meme Featuring Darth Vader’s Force Choke
My Modern Met – New “Vadering” Photo Meme Lifts People Up with The Force