“Open for a Surprise” July 2017 – May 2021
If you’re as hopelessly online as the rest of us, you may have noticed the current buzz on Twitter. This surge in discourse revolves around one of the most quintessential characteristics of the platform – the crop. In its most recent update, Twitter changed the aspect ratio of images that pop up on your main feed. Harmless, right?
You thought wrong. Unfortunately, this is dire.
To better understand why this is the most relevant news you will consume this week, we need to look at early Twitter. Let us venture back to the good old days… commonly known as 2017.
The year is 2017 C.E and the Twitter-verse is at peace. There is a healthy balance between sh*t-posters, socio-political discourse, lurkers, and everything that makes Twitter the cesspool of smooth-brain thoughts we all know and love. For several reasons, 2017 as a whole is a far superior year than 2021 (so far). What is the most important factor? The Twitter Crop.
Please meet max (@maxrward), a famed Twitter author, who sent a Tweet out at 7:18 AM on July 23rd, 2017.
You see, in July of 2017, there was a tweet that played no small part in the emergence of a Twitter movement. Max joined Twitter in January of 2014, but he would only tap into Twitter virality 3 and half years later. Still pinned on their profile to this day, we have THE tweet:
Hold on mate, that is just a blue square? Don’t worry, all will be made clear soon enough.
July 23rd was a Sunday in 2017. What compelled Max to wake up before 8AM on a Sunday, let alone fire off such a viral tweet? Unfortunately, there are just some questions that we will never have any answers to (@maxrward did not respond to our interview request).
There we have it. An absolutely adorable puppy dog – what a satisfying surprise! What followed the virality of this tweet was a rush of tweets that had users open their photos for a surprise. The Twitter crop helped thousands of photos with a similar theme take off. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end.
The new Twitter crop extends the aspect ratio on users’ feeds, rendering the unique quality of these ancient viral hits as null. There are no more surprises. However, the Twitter-verse is nothing if not adaptive and creative. Here is an example of a user, beans after dark after dark (@goodbeanaltalt), who has taken the opportunity to deal with this saddening day in a positive way.
At the end of the day, this is a story of resilience, love, and loss. What can we take from the events of today? I know that I’ve learned not to take anything I love for granted.