Tuesday 17th October 2017,
Televisual

Twitter-Perfect Memes: #3wordsaftersex and #3breakupwords

Aymar Jean Christian May 28, 2009 uncategorized Comments Off on Twitter-Perfect Memes: #3wordsaftersex and #3breakupwords
3wordsaftersex tweets were uploaded at amazing rates.

3wordsaftersex tweets were uploaded at amazing rates.

UPDATE 9/24: After this meme, a similar one cropped up — institutional memory on Twitter is short — called #aftersex. You get the idea. 3wordsaftersex, by the way, is still being tweeted, months later.

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ORIGINAL POST: If ever there was a meme made for Twitter it was #3wordsaftersex (yes, that’s right, “three words after sex”). For those reading this who do not use Twitter at all — are you out there?? — a “#” is a way of linking keywords among tweets, so people can see what Twitterers are tweeting about a certain topic.

I’d seen the #3wordsaftersex trend for awhile, but I normally don’t click on these things. Once I clicked on it, it instantly became clear why it’s popular. 3wordsaftersex is simple: people simply tweet three words they say (or would say; or would never say but would like to pretend they would say) after sex.

3wordsaftersex takes advantage of what Twitter does best: short, witty, sensational messages easily intelligible and quickly repeatable, or re-tweetable. A short sample of 3wordsaftersex tweets reveals an incredible amount of wit among the Twitterati, a wit no doubt cultivated when you only have 140 characters to say what you want — truly, good tweeting is an art. Of course, the same sample of tweets also revealed misogyny (“swallow the nut”) and stupidity (“ima put it on her” — that’s not even three words, and it’s in poor taste!). Regardless, everyone on the site gets a good 10 seconds to express themselves before disappearing into the Internet dustbin. It’s pretty indicative of the web culture in general. (And yes, ten seconds is all you have, the tweets come so fast within that time you’ve been refreshed off the page).
This is a Twitter story. Something like this is too crass for most Facebook accounts — I for one have several employers and past employers as friends — and too short for MySpace, YouTube and most other social networking sites. Blogs are too slow, disparate and hard to find. Twitter is fast, immediate, constantly updated and self-contained. In the twenty minutes it took to write this post, well over 200 tweets were posted, and I’m writing at 3AM.

A companion to 3wordsaftersex is #3breakupwords (three words for a break-up), which isn’t as fun since it isn’t as narrowly constructed. Since there’s more room for possibility, more options and more possible situations, 3breakupwords doesn’t force the twitters to be as creative as 3wordsaftersex does. In my estimation it seems less popular than 3wordsaftersex.

It should be noted that a completely unscientific scan of the tweets shows that 3wordsaftersex does bring out more men than women, which instinctively makes sense to me, but the imbalance isn’t that stark. 3breakupwords seems more equal. But what do I know?! I’m looking at 3AM, my sample might be skewed. It’s surprising because Twitter is likely more female than male.

The big question is: who started this and why? Like many memes before, we may never know.

Three cheers for meaningless memes that rise and fall within the span of days!

PS – I know I keep diverging from my “televisual” theme/directive. But, you know, the Internet’s visual. Leave me alone.

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About The Author

Aymar Jean Christian is assistant professor of communication at Northwestern University. He writes about media and society for a number of publications. For more information, click the "About" tab at the top of the page.

0 Comments

  1. My Amazing Weight Loss Story May 28, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    Thanks for posting, I really enjoyed reading your newest post. I think you should post more frequently, you clearly have natural ability for blogging!