Blinking Guy Meme

Meme History: The story behind “Blinking White Guy,” the GIF you’ve seen a million times

Drew Scanlon's face became one of the most popular memes in the world.

 

Kyle Calise

Video

Posted on Mar 17, 2024   Updated on Mar 15, 2024, 4:42 pm CDT

Meet Drew Scanlon.

He’s a video editor, beacon of health and positivity, podcaster, and former video producer at gaming website “Giant Bomb.” In the mid-late twenty tens his face became an emblem of our surprise and disbelief at the world around us, as well as one of the most popular memes in the world.

A December 2013 episode of Giant Bomb’s “Unprofessional Fridays,” demoed a new video game, Starbound. During the episode, the host made a semi-suggestive comment, “I’ve been doing some farming with my hoe here,” which prompted Drew Scanlon to react in a very specific way.

Mildly funny if you happened to catch it, but on its own nothing to really write home about.

About a year and a half later inside a thread on gaming forum site “NeoGaf,” we got our first known instance of Scanlon’s reaction as a reaction gif. User “Tokubetsu” used it to illustrate a surprised shock at another user aggressively overreacting to yet another user’s review of the new album by rapper “Future.”

It lurked in niche forums online for another year and half until in February 2017 it was posted to Twitter, by a student reacting to the difficulty of biology class.

Blinking Guy Meme

The rise of the blinking guy meme

That helped it reach a more mainstream audience, and it quickly became Twitter shorthand to express bewilderment or incredulity about whatever you want to talk about.

It got so popular that year that Scanlon actually appeared on Good Morning America that December.

That same month, it took second place on Giphy’s Top 25 Gifs of the year, just behind the love gnome.

And in September 2019—Scanlon put his fame to good use, when he participated in “Bike MS,” a charity ride through the San Francisco Bay area—tweeting about his upcoming ride, plugging it on network television, and then raising over $32,000 in the first week.

Blinking Guy Meme

Scanlon moved on from Giant Bomb in 2017, but we internet-goers still haven’t moved on from his face.

Incepted in a moment of expecting or wishing for better manners on the internet, it’s rare and kind of nice actually when the community writ large manages to rally behind someone trying to do good.

Surprising isn’t it?


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*First Published: Mar 17, 2024, 8:15 am CDT