Drew Scanlon is a video producer at Giant Bomb. He’s also a blinking white guy and the face attached to thousands of social media posts and jokes. What is is like to suddenly become the face of the internet’s latest meme? Scanlon sat down with Kotaku to talk about it.
Scanlon’s journey to memedom started over eight years ago when he took a job off Craigslist to intern at a media company to help ship tee-shirts. That company was Whiskey Media, who owned popular video game site Giant Bomb. Eventually, Scanlon transitioned to the site’s video team, where he soon found himself in front of the camera.
The image of Scanlon that’s caught the internet by storm comes from a 2013 Giant Bomb clip where Scanlon reacts to journalist Jeff Gerstmann as he plays Starbound.
“I’ve been doing some farming with my hoe here,” Gerstman says, eliciting a perplexed series of blinks from Scanlon. According to Know Your Meme, the earliest use of the reaction was in a post on NeoGaf in 2015. It resurfaced earlier this month in a tweet about biology class and has taken off from there.
Live footage of Sweden. pic.twitter.com/937oa9JSnp
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) February 19, 2017
Giant Bomb’s personality-driven coverage fosters a colourful community. Scanlon was used to dealing with plenty of memes (DMX Goomba, Scanlon pretending to punch co-worker Dan Ryckert) but none broke out of the site’s orbit like this.
“It was tough in the beginning to separate [this meme] from something that someone in our community made,” Scanlon said.
*Hears the Hall of Fame announcement* pic.twitter.com/LnTSqfg19t
— Terrell Owens (@terrellowens) February 19, 2017
“When you’re onstage it’s tough to see the play,” Scanlon said, attempting to explain what it feels like to suddenly be plastered around the internet. “You can’t really judge how large it is.”
But as the scale grew, it was clear that something was happening. Scanlon is currently one of the top search results on Google for ‘white guy.’ One of the largest tweets featuring his face has been shared over 133,000 times. Far from being concerned, Scanlon is cheerful about the fact strangers are parading his face around the internet.
“I feel like we could use more funny, positive stuff on the internet,” Scanlon said. “And if it happens to be my face, that’s fine.”
Three days ago, Scanlon announced that he would be leaving Giant Bomb and pursuing a solo career in content creation. The fandom met the news with, you guessed it, the blinking meme.
While he had given his two weeks notice before the memes started showing up, he appreciates the irony of the timing. It remains to be seen if his new career will lead to any future memes. For now, one will have to suffice.
“I’m sure it will get old after a while but for now, it’s still fun,” Scanlon said. “I think the meme is for other people. It’s for them to enjoy.”