Snail in My Ear Telling Me
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Snail in My Ear Telling Me refers to a series of memes based on a stock image of a woman suffering from labyrinthitis that are captioned with instructions from "a snail in the ear," which the woman follows. First gaining popularity in May 2022, the meme format maintained its popularity through 2022 and 2023.
The format is based on a stock image illustrating labyrinthitis, an inner ear disorder, which has been used in medical articles and blog posts at least since 2018. In the original image, a woman is experiencing vertigo as a symptom of her inner ear being inflamed (shown below). The portion of the inner ear that looks like a snail shell is called cochlea (Greek for snail).
Prior to April 30th, 2022, an unknown user posted a meme based on the image. In the image, the ear graphic is captioned, "Snail in my ear telling me what to do," and the woman, "Me (listening to the snail)" (image shown below). On April 30th and May 2nd, 2022, Instagram user thepeoplesbf and Tumblr user crazy-brazilian made the earliest discovered reposts of the meme, with the posts gaining over 1,200 likes and 51,700 likes and reblogs in one year, respectively.
On May 4th, 2022, Redditor Meowface_the_cat posted the meme in the /r/bonehurtingjuice subreddit, where it garnered over 17,900 upvotes in one year.
Following the viral spread of the post, the format achieved popularity with users on Twitter and Tumblr. For example, on May 18th, 2022, Twitter account @reactjpg archived the earliest derivative meme based on the format, with the tweet gaining over 170 retweets and 760 likes in one year (shown below, left). On May 20th, Twitter user @mitskiIeaks posted a meme that gained over 1,400 retweet and 10,100 likes in one year (shown below, right).
Through 2022, the format saw further spread online. For example, on September 30th, Redditor f-as-in-frank posted the original Lunging for Officer's Gun meme that accumulated over 790 upvotes in the /r/shitposting subreddit in four months and was widely circulated in the following months (shown below, left). On November 9th, Facebook page Florida Anomaly Investigation Station posted a version featuring Ryan Gosling that garnered over 3,400 reactions and 3,600 shares in three months (shown below, right).
The format maintained continued popularity in early 2023.
 New Life Ticket – Vertigo: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments & Diet
 Instagram – thepeoplesbf
 Tumblr – crazy-brazilian
 Reddit – bone juice make ouch
 Tumblr – reactionpicarchive
 Twitter – @mitskiIeaks
 Reddit – listening to the snail
 Facebook – Florida Anomaly Investigation Station
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