#Selfportraitmonday: the birth of a meme?

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There’s nothing quite like doodling or sketching something to pass the time. Oh sure, you should be taking notes, but instead you’re drawing an epic stickman battle involving helicopters and entire platoons of poorly-drawn men. Or maybe you’re just randomly drawing lines or geometric patterns.

For influencial Edmonton Twitter user @steenyweeny (known to some as Jen), a boring February phone call accompanied by a notepad and pen has gone from random doodles to a bona fide Twitter phenomenon called #selfportraitmondays — that’s “self-portrait Mondays” or SPM for the uninitiated.

“I got to doodling and ended up with a blocky cartoon that I decided was myself and drew a red scarf on it, then made a Twitpic and sent it to the interwebs,” Jen explains. “Within a few minutes, a few other tweeters decided to do the same and lo – #selfportraitmonday was born. I honestly can’t remember who suggested the hashtag first.”

An image of a hand-drawn self portrait for Self-portrait MondaysIt was enough to catch the attention of @grempel (to to some as Geoff), who immediately created a #selfportraitmonday blog to capture the works of other Twitter users who were playing along.

“The first batch of SPM submissions were too good to get lost in the interwebs so we put them into the SPM blog,” Geoff says. “The blog is still pretty rudimentary. There are a number of features I have in mind that I would like to add — like a ranking system so that visitors can pick their favorite of the week or of all time.”

Geoff is also working on a way for users to submit their own self portraits to the site so that he and Jen don’t have to scour Twitter Search to find all the entries. It would also mean that those users who protect their tweets could still share their self portraits.

And there are plenty of users — both public and private — from all around who play along every week.

“We’ve posted over 200 self portraits over the last couple of months. Some people play every week, some people play now and then, and some people send a solitary self portrait and then disappear into the ether,” Jen says. “Looking back over the posts, I think we’ve had 50 to 60 different people contribute so far.”

Geoff adds: “The SPM thing is mostly played by Canadians but there is a strong following from Mexico that is growing.

“As for visitors to the website we’ve seen traffic from Canada, USA, UK, Mexico, Australia, Romania, Argentina. It’s still pretty small but growing.”

All of this activity stems from something random that Jen did and tweeted, and that Geoff liked enough to help her out with. Self-portrait Mondays even has its own Facebook group.

“I honestly didn’t think it would last past maybe three weeks,” Geoff says, “But since March 29, it’s been pretty consistent with the amount of participants and the amount of people visiting the blog. I guess if I had to pick a goal to achieve it would be pretty awesome to see #selfportraitmonday trend at least once. Maybe that’s not too realistic but it would be pretty cool.”

Twitter recently changed its trending algorithm, so it’s possible you’ll see SPM trend sometime soon. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a self-portrait to work on.

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3 Responses to “#Selfportraitmonday: the birth of a meme?”

  1. Mike
    May 18, 2010 at 4:20 pm #

    Awesome work! A fabulous human interest story about us “local” users of twitter!

    • Adam Rozenhart
      May 19, 2010 at 9:46 am #

      Glad you liked the post, Mike! I think #selfportraitmonday is a gem, and I hope, as @grempel said, that it trends one day.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Tweets that mention #Selfportraitmonday: the birth of a meme? | The Unknown Studio -- Topsy.com - May 17, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Adam Rozenhart, temporary spastic.. temporary spastic. said: yay! RT @bingofuel Want to know how #selfportraitmonday got its start? Check out this @unknownstudio post: http://bit.ly/deoX0h #yeg […]