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The Iconic Structure of Twitter’s Distorted Text Meme

Twitter is an incredible platform to yell your thoughts into an app that gives you the potential to be seen by millions of users from around the world. It has given us amazing content and one of my favorite categories is the distorted text structures. Where this first originated I’m not sure but it’s an interesting phenomenon. From a design standpoint, these tweets seem chaotic and disorienting, but the key is to recognize the content they’re referencing.

            At its root, the distorted text tweets make obvious references to various pop culture like the tweet on the top that cites Bill Nye as inspiration for correcting the quoted tweet. On other occasions, the allusions can be a bit more obscure like the tweet on the bottom which is a dialogue from a snippet of a video of two young Scottish girls talking into a webcam about their favorite artists when their very Scottish mother barges into view to ask about the girls’ flushing habits. What makes this structure of meme so next-level is that the distortions of the text perfectly encapsulate the accents and inflections of the people speaking and you can hear it playing out in your head. Every time you come across a new distorted tweet, a new new element of intrigue is discovered; there are so many directions this meme can go.

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  1. bhaskett wrote:

    As a lover of these kinds of tweets, I appreciate this post. There is a certain graphic design element that goes into capturing voice inflections and moods. When I try to make tweets like this, it is only reminiscent of the sPoNgEbOb meme which is DESGOSTANG.

    Sunday, February 17, 2019 at 9:23 pm | Permalink
  2. ecativo wrote:

    Good job explaining how the differences in type translate to an audible sound. I think your analogy of the accents and inflection really drive that point home. This is a really interesting and new form of communication. Worth being explored more!

    Monday, February 18, 2019 at 7:10 pm | Permalink
  3. pkearney wrote:

    I like how this ties into how designers use typography because people will read it a different way if it looks different. I wish there was a more clear explanation at the beginning of what you meant by “distorted text meme.” Other than that I thought it was good!

    Tuesday, February 19, 2019 at 9:44 am | Permalink
  4. icattane wrote:

    I remember seeing the Bill Nye tweet on my timeline when it came out. I remember seeing the distorted text and immediately reading it in Bill Nye’s voice.

    Wednesday, February 20, 2019 at 7:24 am | Permalink
  5. jsams2 wrote:

    Interesting post, I can see how the distortion would lend to the speaker’s tone and emotion. I remember when I text a friend in all caps on accident and they thought I was angry with them.

    Wednesday, February 20, 2019 at 12:34 pm | Permalink
  6. aamaya4 wrote:

    I have defiantly have read a distorted text meme and thought of a certain voice in my head. one that i have always liked was the Spongebob distorted text memes. When I read them, I can hear him speaking.

    Friday, February 22, 2019 at 9:41 am | Permalink