Hey you, random internet user, why won’t you be like Bill, the rich one– the Gates guy, or be like the other Bill, the good guy who doesn’t post random stuff from your Facebook id if you forgot to log out, or be like that another other Bill, the one who doesn’t take selfies everywhere he goes? Or, why shouldn’t you be like Bill? That far-off other Bill, who likes to stare at his smartphone while in the middle of a conversation. Why won’t you be smart? Why won’t you not be an idiot? Why…
You may have got the gist by now unless you have been living under a rock for the past few weeks – but no, even then you would know about it. Even cavemen would have had enough of the meme that has become a viral sensation around the internet. Be like this guy/girl, don’t be like this guy/girl, it’s literally everywhere. Even the Australian police decided to take a swipe at it – luckily, their sense of humor was way too good to make it an ordinary “Be like Bill” post.
The meme got so popular that people started worrying about whether it was actually dangerous for their privacy, which it is not. But that doesn’t mean you can keep creating and sharing more of these posts again and again until your friends grow so tired (I am) and un-friend you (done that too).
What is it?
Well generally, it’s a simple way of people telling other people what to do and what not to do, or well, what you think they should or should not do, depending on your own tastes. By now, everyone will have a decent idea of the meme and the general idea, credits to the over-saturation of the meme in all of our social lives. But for those who don’t, here is a simple definition according to “Know Your Meme”, a kind of a meme-encyclopedia (yes, we have those too! bless the millennial generation).
“Be Like Bill is an exploitable stick figure illustration of a man named “Bill” using a desktop computer, accompanied by a parable praising Bill’s choice to simply carry on after being provoked by a trigger while browsing the Internet.”
While the creator of the page that essentially started the “Being like Bill” revolution(more on that later), says that,
“The idea is very simple. ‘Bill’ can be anyone who is smart and has common sense and doesn’t do annoying things. You’ll also notice Bill can be someone who makes fun of himself and jokes about others too occasionally.”
How do you create it?
Want to create a “Be like Bill”? Here are a few simple steps for the two types of these memes,
How to be or not to be like Bill!
- Choose a name or if you can’t think of one, “Bill” would do. This will be your “name”.
- Choose something that is thought of as really decent/annoying. These will be your “decent method”/“annoying method”.
- Construct sentence using syntax,In case of “Be Like Bill”, use syntax,
“This is (name). (name) does (decent method). (name) is smart. Be like (name).”
In case of “Don’t Be Like Bill”, use syntax,
“This is (name). (name) does (annoying method). (name) is an idiot. Don’t be like (name).”
- Ta’da, that’s it!
This is Bill. He doesn’t buy the latest iPhone just to show off. Bill is smart. Be like Bill.This is Phill. Phill likes Candy Crush. Don’t be like Phill.
Note: Creativity is encouraged but don’t mess with the syntax, don’t be like that Bill!
Who started it?
Like most viral comics or memes on the internet, it’s really hard to pinpoint the exact location of origin but it reportedly started appearing on Reddit. But going back, it’s routes can be traced back to as far as 2010 when JoyReactor user Anon uploaded a stick figure illustration of a character named “Tim” and a public service announcement (PSA).
Mainly though, the meme caught traction after Eugeniu Croitoru, a 23-year old resident of Milan who 23-year-old Moldovan expat who has long specialised in geek and gaming memes, created an Italian Facebook page called “Sii Come Bill” (Be Like Bill).
Note: The above graph is a screenshot of “Be like Bill” on Google search trends. It shows a relative comparison relative of the search result over time.
By the end of 2015, his page had attracted 226,000 likes – in less than three weeks. Spurred on by the meme’s success, Eugeniue launched a dedicated page, which seems to have attracted more than 1.5 million likes since then. However, when trying to access it, it is now showing a “Sorry, this content isn’t available at the moment” error. Does that mean Bill is dead? Does that mean that we can’t be like Bill anymore? Well, it depends on the friends you have on your social networks and to be honest, we always have that one friend who just won’t let go.
So as an endnote, Be like Bill, the one who is now immortal in the arms of the internet, living in the shadows, waiting to convince people to be like him.
In Arabic, Bill is Bilal (or even Bashir sometimes) while the Spanish prefer “Be like Jose”.