I think Twitter memes should be called “flash memes” (or “hash memes?”) because of how quickly they rise and fall, even in internet terms*. Far from the regular meme’s lifespan of a couple of years, hashtags can appear and disappear in a week. For instance, #funnierthanleno, from May, has been coming up empty for at least a month. An interesting implication is that the mainstream media, always lagging in their coverage of Internet culture, will never catch on to Twitter memes, because they’ll have vanished into the unsearchable portion of the database before anyone in the media ever discovers them.
The upshot is that, soon, the #ShakesPalin hashtag will be moribund and people reading this post won’t be able to see it in action. Which is too bad, because it’s very entertaining. It has all the elements of a good joke (incongruous elements unexpectedly combined), a good meme (small, simple individual contributions adding up to a large overall canon), and a good Twitter topic (epigrammatic-style short witticisms). Some favorites:
But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? It is the East, and I can see Russia from my front porch.
Neither a thinker nor a reader be / for thought oft loses both itself and friend / and reading dulls the edge of Fox TV.
To hope-y and change-y, or not to hope-y and change-y, that’s the gotcha question.
If we drillers have offended, think but this and all is mended, that you have but slumbered here while BP oiled your gulf so dear.
To suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous liberals, or to quit halfterm, and by opposing, rake in speaking fees.
If you missed the story behind this meme, it arose after Palin used the nonexistent word “refudiate” on Twitter, a gaffe hardly worth mentioning, let alone mocking. But instead of letting it vanish into the aether, Palin tweeted again, defending her mistake by…comparing herself to Shakespeare. The internet knows a good opener when it sees one. What could have been a quickly-forgotten mistake will now probably haunt her for a long time.
Honey, the difference between the two of you is that Shakespeare made words up on purpose.
*Happily, “twemes” doesn’t seem to have caught on.
Picture found here.