World

What does this purple bird mean?

  • 14 February 2017
  • From the section World
Picture of Trash Dove Image copyright Syd Weiler/Facebook

Have you spotted a purple bird popping up in your social media timeline?

If not, it will be only a matter of time before this weird little fellow is as familiar on your feed as a thumbs-up.

Trash Dove, a Facebook sticker which has bowled over social media in Asia, is the cartoon baby of American artist Syd Weiler.

Image copyright Syd Weiler/Facebook
Image caption Social media users stick images of the bird in their feeds

The Florida-based illustrator drew the bird in September 2016 and subsequently created a set of Facebook stickers in January 2017.

Trash Dove appeared in various guises that people could use as emojis, the most popular one showing the bird vigorously thrashing its head up and down.

Image copyright Syd Weiler/Facebook
Image caption A selection of Facebook stickers

It was all ticking along quietly and then wham - or coo coo - the dove appeared on a popular Thai Facebook page in a dance-off with a cartoon cat in early February.

Within a week, it had racked up 4 million views, and an army of fans.

Image copyright Animals with paws/Facebook
Image caption Trash Dove gained popularity thanks to a social media dance-off with a cat

After its popularity was picked up by news channels in Thailand, Weiler posted a thank you video on her Facebook page:

"Hello Thailand, thank you all so so much for your support. I'm really glad that you like the stickers."

However, not everyone is a fan. There is a petition to ban the bird from the internet by those fed up with seeing its purple bobbing head.

But what does it actually mean? Well, who knows? Perhaps its ambiguity is one of the reasons it is so popular.

As Syd Weiler wrote on her Facebook page in October 2016 : "In case you didn't know, I made some fantastically dumb iOS stickers, you can spam your friends and family with them!"

It's just another in a long list of internet memes we've seen so far this year like salt bae and cash me ousside.'

And if you haven't spotted Trash Dove yet, fear not. The purple bird is bobbing its way around the world to a Facebook page near you.

Image copyright Knowyourmeme
Image caption Trash Dove is now appearing in its own series of memes

By Rozina Sini, BBC's UGC and Social News Team

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