What’s a ‘nesting doll’ Twitter thread and why is everyone sharing it?

This is what a Twitter rabbit hole looks like.

A ‘nesting doll tweet’ borrows its name from traditional Russian wooden dolls called Matryoshka.
A ‘nesting doll tweet’ borrows its name from traditional Russian wooden dolls called Matryoshka. (AP)

The one basic rule of social media is that you see something cool and quirky, you share it. But what if you share a tweet that leads to another tweet that, in turn, shares another tweet that is itself a retweet, which in turn... leaves you very confused.

Take a look at this Twitter thread:

A 'nested doll' tweet thread, this spread like a viral disease on Twitter, taking over timelines.

Nested tweets, or a-tweet-within-a-tweet-within-a-tweet, are a fad on the social media site. The term 'nesting tweet' or 'nesting doll tweet' comes from the Russian matryoshka dolls, where several dolls in diminishing sizes are placed one inside the other.

Such Twitter threads aren't new; there's a year-long never-ending Twitter chain that occurred in 2015.

Ultimately, these Twitter chains lead nowhere or to nothing important. It's like going down a rabbit hole and finding a big fat load of nothing.

So, how does it work? Here are 10 stages in the life cycle of a nested Twitter thread:

Step 1: Of course, there's always someone who starts the fire. In this case, the original tweet can be traced back to Elise Foley, a politics and immigration reporter with the Huffington post.

This was the tweet that started it all, Foley asking people to point down to another tweet.

A short while later, the tweet thread exploded. Foley's tweet expressing joy at its popularity has been liked more than 4,000 times now.

Step 2: A nested Twitter thread would be nothing if people don't share it. Who knows why they do it, though? To participate in a social media phenomenon, keep a chain going or just to seem they have a clue?

Step 3: More people join in till it spreads faster than wildfire in a dry forest.

Step 4: Then even more people share it, deliberately using words to make you click. Because, you know, why not?

Step 5: For others, it's a case of FOMO - the fear of missing out on something important.

Step 6: Now that the nested tweet thread has well and truly spread, there is immense loathing and threats of vengeance.

Step 7: But some people, at least, are happy that they now know about these Twitter chains.

Step 8: It also leads people to speculate over the nature of Twitter.

Step 9: And finally, there are those who are just glad they made it to the end.

Step 10: Too bad it makes you feel like this, Alice.

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