by An Vu
In a blossoming virtual world and a rapidly changing social network that rules everything today, any spontaneous trick can turn into a steaming hot trend within a few minutes.
No matter whether they are celebrities, politicians or ordinary people, it seems anyone can be famous or be a trendsetter in just one night.
In the very beginning of 2016, a funny app (or funny meme pictures) called "Be Like Bill", has once again proved how a little thing can impact cyber space users in such a big way.
Originating from a random slogan entitled "Be Like Bill" of unknown creator, which has been shared via social networks like 9gag, Reddit, and Facebook since January 7, it has received 900,000 likes from Facebook users alone.
The slogan is, "Bill is on the Internet. Bill sees something that offends him. Bill moves on. Bill is smart. Be like Bill."
The slogan's aim is to encourage behaviour and habits as well as show ways to act smartly in life. Bill, the character in the slogan, looks exactly like the hanged man in the game with the same name.
The meme's Arabian version is growing rapidly as well with more than 200,000 likes in 3 days.
In Viet Nam, the meme has also quickly stirred up movement among domestic social network users. Many funny and creative memes on friends and family members have been created by the virtual community.
Likewise, a pseudonym call Thobong has invented a simple and impressive meme to describe her classmate Hao.
"This is Hao. Hao has not had a boyfriend yet. Hao is still happy and does not mourn about her single status on Facebook many times. Hao is a free-spirited girl. Be like Hao."
A colleague of mine, whose nickname on Facebook is Huu Tien, and once was involved in multi-level marketing, has become a subject for this trend, as his friends made a meme to mock him afterward.
"This is Tien. Tien wanted to make his fortune. Tien decided to work as a multi-level marketer. Tien asked his friends to join him. Tien was beaten black and blue. Don't be like Tien."
Another pseudonym who calls himself goodguy, even creates a meme to mock a famous character in history called Diep Van (Yip Man), a Chinese martial artist. "This is Van. Van is a master of martial arts. Van fears nobody. Van is only afraid of his wife. Don't be like Van."
Nguyen Thu Nga, a teacher at the Academy of Journalism and Communication, said the trend changes every day and every minute, and anyone can be a trendsetter.
"Last month, everyone changed their cover photo and profile picture on Facebook into a French national flag to support the citizens of Paris. Now, most of my students enjoy making funny memes and sharing them with each other. In this era of modern technology, nothing is impossible," Nga said.
Tran Van Chung, a game programmer, said the meme is fun and easy to create, so it is suitable for people as a kind of entertainment after stressful hours of studying and working.
"It is usually used to make fun of your friends, even well-known people and anyone you want to tease. However, it offends no one, is just for relaxation and makes you laugh. All you need is to log on to the "Be Like Me" app address on Facebook, fill in your full information and wait for the app to post on behalf of you on your Facebook wall," Chung said.
He said the meme has been a virtual phenomenon on the very first days of the New Year, and can last three to four months, until another trend appears and replaces it.
"You have already learnt the power of the cyber world this century. Things change in the blink of an eye, so do social networking trends. There are demands, and there are supplies," he adds.
Unlike Chung, Pham Kieu Chinh, a reader of Vnexpress online, said the meme is a good-for-nothing joke.
"Such a useless game. I have learnt nothing from it. Besides, I have given up on Facebook for a week. Everyone, please be like me," she emphasised.
Personally, from what I have seen, the meme is not just a form of entertainment designed for fun. These very short, but somehow effective memes, have helped youngsters to live better and more meaningful lives, as they are always being judged by others from their community. — VNS