#JoshFight2021, the massive viral battle born from a meme

What are hundreds of people all named Josh doing in an inhospitable place in Nebraska? The story of how this viral meme became a solidarity initiative will be one of the best stories you'll see today.

#JoshFight2021, the massive viral battle born from a meme
© Associated Press
#JoshFight2021, the massive viral battle born from a meme

Have you ever searched Facebook to see how many people match your name? Josh Swain, a 22-year-old college student from Tucson, Arizona, bored at home because of the lockdown, decided to to go Facebook to do just that.

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The social network's algorithm returned thousands of results. As a joke, he came up with a plan: send each of them an invitation to a group conversation and challenge them all to meet in a year's time and fight over who is the one, the true Josh Swain. In the welcome message, he even sent them the coordinates where the supposed meeting of Joshes from all over the United States would take place.

#JoshFight2021: A website, a countdown and a solidarity initiative

To his surprise, the initiative born out of a meme, and a moment of ultimate boredom, and which was an unintentional joke went viral after he posted the image on Twitter. Many of the Joshes and users around the world urged the original Josh Swain to make the joke a reality.

At the request of the Joshes and the fans on his social networks, the promoter of the idea finally made it a reality. He published a website explaining the origin, when it would take place and how it would be carried out. He only made one slight modification: he changed the coordinates.

The original coordinates corresponded to a random address at the very centre of the United States that turned out to be a private property. On 24 April, the anticipation in the park in Lincoln, Nebraska where the Joshes were finally summoned was at its peak: how many Joshes would finally respond to the summons?

A happy day for all

Social media went abuzz, and the image of the circle they formed for their particular battle for identity once again went viral. Amidst games and outdoor socialising, in the end it was a 5-year-old boy who emerged as the rightful Josh Swain.

Beyond the anecdote, this strange gathering of Joshes had a happy ending: in addition to having a good time, the initiative raised more than 10,000 dollars for a children's hospital.

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