Best Crypto 2022

Meet Crypto Twitter’s Latest Meme: ‘Let’s Form a Group!’

Meet Crypto Twitter's Latest Meme: 'Let's Form a Group!'

As with every great meme that graced this dark civilization, it began with an elegant and poignant story, which it captured in all its ephemeral finesse. Forbes “associate.”

The a story appeared titled “Tiffany & Co Releases Those CryptoPunk Charms And They’re Expensive, All Intel Here.” This was followed by a tongue-in-cheek article about Tiffany and Co. co-chairman Alexandre Arnault boosting the market value of a line of CryptoPunk-themed pendants through a “guerilla marketing campaign via his personal social media manager.”

More importantly, this line in the middle of the article caught on immediately Crypto Twitter: “He signed the tweet ‘LFG’, an acronym the NFT community says means ‘let’s form a group’.”

Was it a mistake or was providence shaping the destiny of mankind through weak editorial standards at Forbes affiliate network? The contributor in question, Stephanie Hirschmiller, stands by her translation. She told me via Instagram DM that she googled the term and concluded that it was “NFT community speak” for “let’s form a group.”

Crypto Twitter disagreed; “LFG” is generally understood to mean “let’s f—ing.” (It’s also a favorite rallying cry of NFL star and crypto promoter Tom Brady.) Hear the saliva.

Hirschmiller identifies herself in her contributor tagline as a “journalist and digital consultant living between Paris and London covering fashion, luxury and Web 3.0.” Elsewhere she describes herself as “an authority on footwear [and] Web 3.0 expert in training.”

Being something of an authority on footwear (I make ends meet by selling men’s shoes at a local department store), I am appalled by the shadow Hirschmiller has cast over our craft. But I get it. We all make mistakes. I almost broke someone’s leg once when I tried to shoe him in E when the poor man clearly needed EEE. More.

The malaprop spread endlessly as other Twitterers offered similarly benign translations.

“We’re pretending to be great,” suggest one. “A big friendly gathering,” added more. It is clear that Hirschmiller has captured some primal urge to form a group that has yet to be articulated in Indo-European phraseology.

Call it “Let’s go Brandon” effect: an explanation of a term or phrase so distorted that it becomes more popular than the original. That’s how HODL was born, which means “to hold”—from a tipfeller on a chat forum.

It was all in good fun, I suppose, but I couldn’t help but wonder if this grievous error spoke volumes about Forbes, which is now frantically looking for a new buyerand the long-simmering dumpster fire of his infamous “network of associates.”

About 2,800 “contributors,” most of whom are from marketing and PR, not journalism, post on the site every day for a pittance. It’s a great Faustian bargain: Forbes every day he gets troughs full of “content” (which generates clicks) and “contributors” get ambiguous compensation.

According to the former Forbes contributor Matt Zucker, five articles of several hundred words in one month earn the writer $250; seven pieces get $500. Zucker claimed that each piece took him around ten o’clock— that’s over 140 hours for $1,000. “Yeah, we’re not doing this for the money,” he admitted.

(It sounds familiar, and to be honest, it pays too is extremely competitive with the humiliating salary I pay here.)

What ForbesIt’s clear that “associates” will get out of this predicament: like Zucker he wrote in a post on the Medium blog about his time in Forbes contributor farm, contributors effectively have carte blanche to publish whatever they want—often unedited. Since many contributors have their own professional agendas, getting an affiliate contract is tantamount to getting access to free, endless PR. I wish I had access to such a source, so I could advertise my creation side hustle.

Hirschmiller, who accidentally coined the new “LFG” meme, put the network to good use. Her recent body of work on Web3 innovation includes: “How Paris Hilton and Snoop Dogg animated their boring monkeys, what technology could mean for brands“; “The disruptive idea behind Prada’s new Timecapsule NFT collection with Damien Hirst’s son“; and “Is Metaverse headquarters with Bored Ape NFTs, a helipad, a cinema the next must-have for luxury brands?

A dubious and inevitably anonymous “source” tells me that there is actually some oversight of the crypto affiliate network, or at least more than there used to be, and that Forbes Crypto editor and ex CoinDesk journalist Michael del Castillo runs a “tight ship”. But this part was not part of the network of crypto collaborators; it is filed under Retail.

And the network of contributors generally remains a kind of “YouTube for writing”, so caveat emptor.

Which makes you think: maybe Hirschmiller knew that this choice of translation would cement her place in internet meme history. And like every budgeted and underpaid Forbes “associate”, she concluded, was worth the money. In that case, I welcome her and want to join her. Let’s form a group!

Editor’s note: This column was updated on August 3 at 8:30 a.m. EST with a comment from Stephanie Hirschmiller.

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