Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

#lessambitiousmovies Shows Twitter Can Still Be Community, Not Just a Tool

Just when you thought Twitter had become a basic broadcast tool that serves many purposes, we’re reminded that the service has fostered an actual community.

Twitter tonight overflowed with a meme that just about everyone can participate in and appreciate: #lessambitiousmovies. There have been more than 26,000 tweets using the hashtag in the last day, according to tweet indexer Topsy, and tonight the fad made the Twitter top trends list in the U.S.

This latest craze involves punning on an existing movie title to make it a little more ordinary, and appending the hashtag #lessambitiousmovies.

Some of my favorites: “The Devil Wears Zara,” “The Sound of Muzak” and “Saving Private Ryan 15% on his Auto Insurance by Switching him to GEICO.”

The most popular submission, at least according to Topsy, is “Being John Stamos” from Twitter user @jennyjohnsonHi5, with 225 retweets.

It doesn’t seem to be just the techies I follow that are playing along. Here’s celeb host Ryan Seacrest’s timely contribution: “Black Duck.”

Unlike the news items and celebrity names that often dominate Twitter trends, #lessambitiousmovies is actually sort of creative. But it’s far from the first hashtag game; another recent example was #fatindiebands, which also played off an easily replicable formula.

According to Twitter engineer Dana Contreras, the first #lessambitiousmovies tweet appears to have been “Scott Pilgrim vs The Room #lessambitiousfilms” on Jan. 3 from Toronto artist Rob McCallum, who has just 488 followers.

McCallum tweeted Wednesday evening, “I started it last night when I couldn’t sleep and it’s gotten right out of hand!…I don’t know how to feel! Cheers! I’m away to hide under some coats and plan my next move.”

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik