Thursday, July 09, 2009

The Fail Whale Enters Pop Culture...

In case you hadn't noticed, the Twitter Fail Whale has officially crossed over into pop culture.

It started about a year ago when Yiying Lu designed the Fail Whale image to appear whenever the Twitter website crashed (which was pretty often). But a funny thing happened... as this Mashable article describes, the image was quoted, linked to, used and reused everywhere imaginable.

The Fail Whale now reaches far beyond simply referring to Twitter's occasional instability; it's become the icon used to highlight ANY perceived failure. References abound over the past few months to examples such as #GoogleFail, #VistaFail, #ObamaFail, #StimulusFail, and the plain-and-simple generic #Fail hashtag (which is used for basically anything, often in pretty entertaining ways). Seriously, check out these Twitter search results and see what I mean.

For instance, one person writes: "I think I've just seen two old people driving naked: #fail for society and the human race."

Just like its brethren before it, the Fail Whale is now identifiable not only by its iconic image, but also in our day-to-day language. Think of the moment when "to Google" or "to IM" or "to text" suddenly crossed over to have meaning in pop culture. That's where the Fail Whale is today.

Is this not ever fascinating?


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