A couple of days ago DailyPost suggest the following topic for a blog post: Share something that makes you smile. I wanted to share something, but so many things make me smile that it’s hard to choose. Today though I came across something that made me smile, and even laugh. It’ll take me a bit to explain, so please bear with me. And if you choose not to, here is an entertaining and short explanation of “bear with me” versus “bare with me”.
Anyway, here we go with the facts:
- It’s just after the midnight on January 7th.
- Russia, as well as some other countries, celebrate Christmas on January 7th, and not on December 25th. Wikipedia explains why.
- “Merry Christmas” in Russian is “С Рождеством Христовым”.
So, what we have right now is a lot of Russian-speaking people sending “С Рождеством Христовым” via any means possible to a lot of other people. One of those means is Twitter. One of many Twitter features is Trending Topics (aka TT). This is an automatically generated list of most common phrases used across Twitter in some recent period of time (like an hour or two). And as so many other automated features, this one has its side effects.
Firstly, it seems that it doesn’t much care for the language or alphabet. It grabs any frequently used phrase in any language or any alphabet, puts it in the list of trending topics, and shows it to any user, no matter what his location or preferred language is.
Secondly, it seems that it tries to minimize the phrase by removing very short words. Like those consisting of only one or two characters.
So what we have by now is “Рождеством Христовым”, and not “С Рождеством Христовым”. And that phrase is a number one trending topic, shown to all Twitter users everywhere. Here is a screenshot.
Here starts the fun. Most people who see this, have no idea what is it all about. Many of those, who are trying to find out get confused by incorrect spelling and by the fact that Christmas is over already for most of the world. That I find funny.
But that’s not all. Since the phrase went up to trending topics, it got a lot of special attention. Humor. Some people started spreading rumors. For example, that “Рождеством Христовым” is the name of the new Russian nuclear bomb. Some others started using the phrase in famous quotes. For example, “I love the smell OF Рождеством Христовым in the morning!” (original quote talks about napalm and is from the movie “Apocalypse Now”). That I find hilarious. You can have a look yourself at everything that has been tweeted with this phrase.
And even that is not all. Twitter has been known for having hard times during activity spikes. Today is just one of such spikes. So Twitter is unstable, falling over the edge. And when it does so, it shows the famous Fail Whale.
This is cute and worth a smile, but there is still more to the story. The meaning of Fail Whale varies between people. Mashable once published an interview with the designer of the image. While I know the background of this image, I can’t help a different association. The one that Denis Lebel mentioned in the comment to that interview – the story of the Sperm Whale from Hitchhicker’s Guide to the Universe.
It is important to note that suddenly, and against all probability, a Sperm Whale had been called into existence, several miles above the surface of an alien planet and since this is not a naturally tenable position for a whale, this innocent creature had very little time to come to terms with its identity.
Innocent “Merry Christmas” wishes, weird Cyrillic letters shown to the whole world, rumors of nuclear war from Russian, word play with famous quotes, Twitter outages, and flying whales – I find the mix hilarious. I hope you do too.
P.S.: To all those of you celebrating – Merry Christmas and С Рождеством Христовым.