What’s a ‘nesting doll’ Twitter thread and why is everyone sharing it?
This is what a Twitter rabbit hole looks like.
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.
Can we do the little hand pointing down though https://t.co/OeQ9Y1qAIo— Elise Foley (@elisefoley) August 18, 2017
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.
Nothing brings me more joy than creating one of those nesting doll twitter threads that you click through and the end is something pointless— Elise Foley (@elisefoley) August 18, 2017
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?
that's what we're trying to do right??— Vaughn Sterling (@vplus) August 18, 2017
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?
Stunning revelations by a coalition of investigative journalists. https://t.co/jVzbtyFx22— Bae Grylls (@TheAuracl3) August 19, 2017
Step 5: For others, it's a case of FOMO - the fear of missing out on something important.
I always click thinking "the one time I don't click it'll BE something"— Stephanie Stamm (@sestamm) August 18, 2017
Step 6: Now that the nested tweet thread has well and truly spread, there is immense loathing and threats of vengeance.
I wish there was a way to wreak vengeance on everyone involved in the Russian nesting doll nightmare thread I just paged through.— Lizzie O'Leary (@lizzieohreally) August 19, 2017
There is an epic quote-tweet nesting doll thread going around media Twitter and I will not forgive any of you for it.— Craig Silverman (@CraigSilverman) August 19, 2017
Step 7: But some people, at least, are happy that they now know about these Twitter chains.
I'm annoyed but glad I know about nesting doll tweet thingies now— Melissa Burnell (@mburnell) August 19, 2017
I hate you but I'm following you now.— Trey Graham (@treygraham) August 18, 2017
Step 8: It also leads people to speculate over the nature of Twitter.
it's like if Twitter were a Beckett play— Victor Brand (@recordedvoice) August 18, 2017
Step 9: And finally, there are those who are just glad they made it to the end.
I finally got here after 20 clicks. And it was worth 30.— Andrew Trzaska (@Trzaska) August 19, 2017
Step 10: Too bad it makes you feel like this, Alice.
You have reached the end of the internet. There is nothing else to see. Go outside and play.— Mark Daley (@markedaley) August 19, 2017