If you made the mistake of reading the comments anywhere on Facebook this week, you might have been pleasantly surprised by what you found. It all depends on how you feel about a certain purple bird with a very pliable neck better known as Trash Dove. If you’re pro-Trash Dove, then Facebook was probably a pretty good hang for you this week. If you’re not, too bad, because there is no escaping the head-banging viral monster that is Trash Dove.
To fully understand how this weird GIF of a cartoon bird became the perfect response for anything anyone posts on Facebook, you need to understand Trash Dove’s origins. The bird is part of a set of Facebook stickers designed by Syd Weiler, an illustrator and Adobe creative resident. According to an interview with Weiler from PopDust, she actually created Trash Dove while streaming live on Twitch in September, after Apple announced stickers for messaging in iOS. “Facebook asked to put them on the site last month. But I didn’t expect anything like this,” she said. “I woke up on Thursday … I think, and everyone had tagged me in the joke videos. It was surreal.”
The “joke videos” she’s talking about hail from Thailand, where Trash Dove became an overnight sensation last week. One video in particular — an edit of Trash Dove and a dancing kitten with an overlay of pop music — gained over 3.5 million views in just a few days, and helped launch the stickers to their meme status, Know Your Meme reports.
“It all started in Thailand, actually — they have a joke about birds there, and it tied in there,” Weiler said. The joke, as explained by the Daily Dot, involves the Thai word for bird, nok, which has an alternate translation meaning “someone hopelessly single or suffering from unrequited love.” And honestly, just look at that doofy bird flapping its neck around. Makes perfect sense.
Today, Trash Dove’s popularity has only continued to grow worldwide. There is Trash Dove fan art.
Trash Dove makeup tutorials.
And … whatever the heck this guy is doing in the name of Trash Dove.
Of course, since it’s been about a week since Trash Dove rose to internet fame, the backlash cycle has already begun. People are starting to get irritated by the endless stream of reply comments consisting solely of Trash Doves, and some are even proposing a ban. Which likely won’t happen — unless Mark Zuckerberg really hates these birds of peace for reasons unknown — but at least the fan art is still good.