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Wash Your Lyrics refers to a series of images generated on the website WashYourLyrics.com, which display "Handwashing Techniques with Soap and Water" through 13 illustrated directions for how to wash your hands. The generator allows users to set the drawings to music lyrics, so that those following the diagram can sing the song as they wash and reach the recommended 20 seconds of handwashing without counting numerals. The trend went viral on Twitter in March 2020 as health experts began recommending increased attention to handwashing following the worldwide outbreak of the coronavirus COVID-19.
On March 8th, 2020, William Gibson, under the Twitter name @neoncloth, tweeted, "I made a little site in 24h that generates hand washing instructions accompanied by lyrics from a song of your choice instantly – check it out! 🔗 https://washyourlyrics.com." The tweet featured an example of the images generated by the site: a handwashing guide set to the song "Gone" by Charli XCX & Christine and the Queens. The images are taken from the United Kingdom's National Health Services guidelines for hand hygene, which were released in the late 2000s.
The site requires users to input "Song Title" and "Artist Name." Using lyrics and information from Genius.com, WashYourLyrics.com generates a handwashing technique instructional guide with a portion of lyrics below each illustration.
Over the next 24 hours, the use of the website continued to grow. Twitter user @scum_m tweeted a version that featured the "1049 Gotho" by Idels. The tweet received more than 420 likes in 24 hours (shown below, left). Examples also began appearing on other platforms, like Instagram. In a post sponsored by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Instagram account @worstigaccount shared a version that featured "All Star" by Smash Mouth. The post received more than 800 likes in 24 hours (shown below, center).
On March 9th, @neoncloth tweeted, "Wash Your Lyrics: Day 1 Stats / 89,527 posters created / 121,279 unique users / 2,188,523 server requests" (shown below, right).
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