How things on the internet go viral, nobody really knows. But the simplest, most beautiful thing about online memes is the mystery behind them, the very things that keep us from saying “Wait, why is this a thing again?”
Meet Alex from Target.
According to Buzzfeed, it all started when one girl tweeted a picture on Twitter. She claims that she didn’t take the photo, but the damage was already done.
— rims (@auscalum) November 2, 2014
Alex from target is hot af ???????????? — Bootyful Goddess (@bbsamyy97) November 3, 2014
i fell in love with the way he bagged my groceries slowly then all at once #alexfromtarget
— gweneth (@spiritualvodka) November 3, 2014
maybe scanning can be our always. coupon? coupon. #alexfromtarget pic.twitter.com/AJIhwplud7 — ? (@_BieberIsAStar_) November 3, 2014
The internet’s mass base of hormonal teenage girls swooped down and either virtually devoured #AlexFromTarget, reproducing several memes around him swearing their love and affection; or tore him down and suggested new targets.
“alex from target” “kieran from tmobile” “steve from starbucks” “matt from red robin” what a time to be alive????
— a l e x & s h a n a (@_ashtonsdimplxs) November 3, 2014
who needs #alexfromtarget when you can have ashley, oscar, herbert, & daniel from target
— aanchal. (@drewsft5sos) November 3, 2014
Voyeurism also wins another point when Alex himself replies to these tweets after realising that for some strange reason (or because of some strange stalker), he’s become an internet sensation. Talk about your unintended celebrities.
Am i famous now?
— DGM_Alex (@acl163) November 2, 2014
This story eerily resembles that of Ridiculously Photogenic Guy, an internet meme surrounding one Zeddie Little, who was just happily running a marathon when he ended up in the background of a photographer’s shot. This meme exploded all over the internet, to the point where he was even interviewed by ABC News.
Even an ordinary household cat with an exceptional face is able to make it big online, to the extent of having its very own book deal and Christmas movie (due to release Winter 2014).
While most memes surround a well known celebrities or public figures like Jacky Chan, Obama, or Miley Cyrus, Alex From Target reminds us that the internet needs very little persuasion to trigger an explosive reaction.
Psychologists have been studying the correlation of facial features to success, and have found that there are links to intelligence and trustworthiness. So as much as we want to say not to judge a book by its cover, I’m afraid that that is and will always been the way the world works.
Perhaps we’ll never understand why these people make it big without trying, when others work their whole lives to get noticed. Maybe when your face becomes the property of internet spammers everywhere, it’s best to ask whether this is the kind of publicity you would want. Nonetheless, it’s a clear reminder that the internet is a powerful force with a mind of its own. Don’t ever underestimate it.