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‘Stan Twitter, do you know this song’ is the unifying meme we need right now

It doesn’t matter what you Stan

Stan Eminem
Screenshot from Stan by Eminem.

Twitter is divided into microcosms, and each little ecosystem comes with its own etiquette practices, language and jokes.

Twitter unified people on one platform, but people quickly divided themselves. Film Twitter collects cinema devotees; Games Twitter sparks conversations about games and circulates strange memes; Weird Twitter is home to Twitter’s strangest personalities whose oddball remarks cherished by Very Online people; Gay Twitter is a celebration of queer people, pop culture and pride; and Stan Twitter is an overarching collection of various fandoms.

Stan Twitter by its very nature is both accessible and inaccessible. Anyone can find a fandom they support, but trying to understand a totally foreign online culture is difficult without heavy investment. We understand why people participate in Stan Twitter — excitement over finding others they can geek out with over a show or celebrity they truly love is a universal feeling — but rarely do independent Stan Twitter fandoms intersect.

New memes are changing that, like intertwining hands or a recent personal favorite, “Stan Twitter, do you know this song?”

“Stan Twitter, do you know this song?” seems very silly at first glance. The meme, expressed through an overly obnoxious all-caps exclamation, pairs the sentence with theme songs from early ’90s TV shows, random YouTube videos, anime tracks, High School Musical remixes and random one hit wonders. Its simplicity is the trend’s most striking quality.

It’s designed around nostalgia-baiting people who love to bring up beloved childhood memories, which many Twitter users qualify as. People try to outdo one another by posting the most bizarre, random example of a song they can think of, hoping to collect replies like, “I totally forgot about this!!” We all have precious memories of past entertainment in our lives that we still remember, and “Stan Twitter, do you know this song?” turns that into a competition to find the most obscure relic.

The meme comes at a very interesting time for Twitter and internet culture at large. The more we separate ourselves into smaller factions, finding tinier, more intimate groups to hang out with online, the more niche groups begin to overlap with one another. As Select All’s Brian Feldman wrote: “They point at weird overlaps in subcultures, the tiny details that bring us together. After all, what separates a sports team’s animal mascot and a furry?”

Overlapping those common interests unites people. It creates connection.

Connection to other people, and a desire for unlimited information, is what kickstarted this entire digital universe in the first place. But that’s not what the internet has become for many folks. The internet is still good, and it can often be fun, but it’s also a place that worsens our anxieties and fears; a place where people can harass one another without a second thought, destroying lives just because they can.

Finding little places of harmony unification is like stumbling upon a near-empty bar or happening upon a garden of roses just blooming. As dramatic as this may sound, it’s true: Stan Twitter is as close as the internet gets to capturing those feelings of contentment.

It doesn’t matter what you Stan. We can celebrate one another’s enthusiasm and, with this latest phenomenon, reminisce over our shared memories of decades past.