Raise your hands if you’ve ever been flirting with someone you really fancy, they’ve flirted back, and it made you feel just like South America.
Nope, me neither…
And yet, it turns out a simple line drawing map of South America is the new most-relatable thing to hit the World Wide Web since Kermit the Frog met his hooded nemesis, Constantine.
In the week which saw the Internet Jury dub a stock photograph of a hard-boiled egg more likeable than Kylie Jenner’s first child, we’ve got yet another viral game-changer to celebrate.
Laina Farthing, the 20-year-old non-binary meme-maker extraordinaire, took to Twitter to express her emotions during a reciprocated flirt. But, in doing so, she accidentally uploaded the wrong picture.
The resulting tweet is here for your pixellated pleasure:
me: gets flirted with back
— 🌺Waina🌺 (@is_meguca) January 13, 2019
For some reason, the accidental representation really resonated with the participating Internet Jury, perhaps reflecting the bumpy geographical terrain of our collective emotional state at this present moment in time.
At the time of writing, there are over 50,000 people talking about the tweet, and 135,000 people have liked it and made their approval manifest in a little love heart on the social platform.
Some tried to explain the mistake with their own theories, positing the continent is sort of heart-shaped and could signify love.
Others went on a deep dive and mused the original poster’s heart was stolen, just like the lands of South America.
Perhaps its nonsensical nature is a satire of meme culture itself and the language of our online lives which has sprung up out of nothing but pixels sprinkled with unbridled human imagination and wit.
Meanwhile, Laina, who goes by the handle @is_meguca, is delighting in the fact she’s ‘reached K-pop Twitter’ and jokingly used the newfound viral fame to demand a verified blue tick from the folk over at Twitter HQ.
Speaking to UNILAD via Twitter DMs, Laina explained how she was feeling about her newfound viral fame, saying it is both ‘overwhelming’ and quite nice, really.
The Twitter creator, having more than doubled her following in one day, added:
At times, it’s like ‘Oh God, this is so many people following me now, this is a little scary’. But it is also nice to have this many people who enjoyed what I made and want to stick around.
Laina later confirmed to UNILAD, as other observers with the wily deduction skills of Detective Pika himself suspected, she actually meant to upload the often overused ‘shocked Pikachu’ meme.
She joked this mistake is quite reflective of her usual style, which she equates to ‘a hot mess’, adding:
I’m kind of impulsive so I just tweet whatever’s on my mind at one time another, so what I tweet about most normally changes based on what I’m playing or watching at the time.
Obviously, UNILAD had to ask whether South America was indeed on Laina’s mind at that very moment, but alas, she put us right, adding, ‘The now memetic untraceable emotion that South America represents, or just the continent? Because if it’s the latter, then no’.
So, what was the map doing in her downloads folder, then?
Simple, she says:
I had done a thing in the past where I had people tell me countries around the world, and I would then place that country where I thought it went, and I never ended up deleting the maps I downloaded for that.
At least the geography game enabled Laina to point out the continent was indeed South America, and not Africa, as many commentators had incorrectly guessed.
Luckily, PhotoShop wizards were also on hand to help the gamer from Kissimmee, Florida, fix her meme.
The results are hilarious:
I assume this is what you meant to send pic.twitter.com/7Z2KSnEqQD
— infinity boi (@infinityboi26) January 14, 2019
So, you’d think that’s where the fun and games would end. You’d be wrong.
As a consequence of this ever-so happy accident, Laina – or at least her Twitter profile picture taken from Yagate Kimi ni Naru – has actually been turned into a meme herself by the online community, inspired by the best Internet tropes of our modern age.
It got really mainstream with the reemergence of 2017’s meme of the year, the infamous ‘Distracted Boyfriend and Jealous Girlfriend’ stock image.
It seems Meme Twitter has started to ‘stan’ and hundred more users have appropriated other tropes to show their appreciation.
Laina’s meme mistake has now made appearances alongside Gru from Dispicable Me, President Donald Trump, Jeremy Clarkson and James may of former Top Gear fame, the Sasuke Uchiha Choke edit originating from Nartuo: Shippūden and the ‘Is this a pigeon?’ moment from the nineties anime series, The Brave Fighter of Sun Fighbird.
In other words, people have been busy interpreting:
I give you the first meme i've ever made pic.twitter.com/Cl85MsatOr
— Juanelgod kuro (@juanelgod) January 14, 2019
| _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
📍someone flirting back |
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ |
— la-leaf-a (@nominaI) January 14, 2019
FYI, Laina’s favourites are the ‘so there’s this girl, and umm’ and ‘what if you wanted to go to heaven, but God said South America’ versions.
People like it so much, one even said they think Laina ‘accidentally created the meme of the year’.
I’m sure there are some people who’d disagree, but I for one, am not among them.
Has the expeirence changed her perception on meme culture now the tables are turned? Well, not really, she says:
In general I’ve felt for a while that virality is just something that happens. You can’t really try to make it happen, because any attempts tend to just feel weird and forced.
Virality and memes aren’t really manufactured, they just happen. Ordinary people make something that hits a number of people’s fancy, purely by luck.
And that’s what happened with me, I made a mistake, people enjoyed it, and suddenly it went viral. Virality was what I expected, I just have experienced it first-hand now.
Still, the Dungeons and Dragons fan is just happy people don’t think she’s too much of a ‘dumbass’ and is enjoying her time in the Twitter Sun with nothing further to self-promote.
In fact, there’s not a SoundCloud account in a follow-up tweet in sight:
I've got nothing to promote other than the fact that I'm a dumbass
— 🌺Waina🌺 (@is_meguca) January 14, 2019
Now, raise your hands if you f*cking love the Internet and it makes you feel all fuzzy inside like [insert map of South America here].
If you have a story you want to tell, share it with UNILAD via [email protected]
A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.