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We Talked To The "White Guy" From The White Guy Blinking Meme And He's Blown Away By It

Meet Drew Scanlon.

Besides political news and related quips, chances are your timelines are strewn with this now-famous reaction GIF of a guy blinking incredulously. People have started to call it some variation of the "White Guy Blinking Meme."

The GIF has made its way onto most of the social spaces on the internet. (The numbers on single tweets have certified its ~virality~). It's become one of the most versatile and accessible expressions in our meme tool belt.

As pervasive as the GIF now is, a lot of people still don't know who they're GIFing in their jokes. No, it's not actor Michael C. Hall, but the man himself, Drew Scanlon, told BuzzFeed News he does get the comparison from time to time. He thinks the phenomenon is quite strange and hilarious.

Scanlon is a San Fransisco native who's been working as a video editor for the gaming reviews and news website Giant Bomb for eight years now. That's where the meme began.

Drew Scanlon

On Fridays, Giant Bomb hosts a show called "Unprofessional Fridays" where they record team members playing various video games and banter with each other.

They can last for several hours at a time, Scanlon said.

"It's grab bag of games we’re playing," he said. "We’re just chatting. It's casual."

In 2013, editor-in-chief Jeff Gerstmann was playing an action-adventure game that required players to grow their own crops. Gerstmann said, "I've been doing some farming with my hoe." In the top left-hand corner, Scanlon is seen momentarily caught off guard and reacting to that line.

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"When we’re recording these videos we always know we’re visible to the audience," Scanlon said. "You can kind of be yourself and be silly."

So when Gerstmann casually dropped that line, Scanlon reacted organically.

"Yeah, I reacted," Scanlon said, laughing. "That was a total throwaway joke."

Scanlon suspected that a viewer turned his expression into a GIF pretty soon after, but it wasn't until earlier this month (four years later) that he first saw himself in joke tweets.

It was this "biology class" tweet that really planted Scanlon's ~mainstream~ internet fame. It's still his personal favorite to this day, he said.

"I thought it was funny. It was a well-crafted tweet," Scanlon said. This massively viral "bank account" tweet is another one of his favorites.

Pretty soon after, he was seeing his face cropping up almost everywhere. His friends and family also sent him tweets every day that they came across.

"It wasn’t until I saw bunch of the other versions that I realized [the meme] is surprisingly versatile," he said.

He said it wasn't until he saw former NFL star Terrell Owens using his expression for a tweet that he really understood the magnitude of his own meme.

"When [the meme] is so large I think people separate the real person behind it," he said. "I do feel fairly removed."

While Scanlon said he isn't too intimidated by the scale or rate that his face is being plastered all over the internet, he does think "it's a weird thing."

"There is a little bit of a scary aspect knowing how big the internet is," he added.

Scanlon said he's not been recognized in public (other than by longtime gamer fans who've been watching his videos) but he's been getting a kick out of seeing who strangers online think he is. "One lady thought I was from The Bachelor," he said, laughing.

And of course, the widely mistaken identity that it's Michael C. Hall.

"I’m not Michael C. Hall," he joked. "But I did dress up as Dexter at one point.”

"I get the most kick out of it when I see the audience see their mom post it on Facebook," he added.

Scanlon also joked that the multitude of parody "White Guy Blinking" accounts have more followers than he does.

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Oh, and as far as the unofficial "White Guy Blinking" name, Scanlon told BuzzFeed News he doesn't have a name for the meme himself, but he has no issue with that given name. "I'm a very white person," he said.

"As long as they’re not mean I don’t have a problem with the tweets," he said.

"I think we need more positivity on the internet these days."

"I’m glad people are liking it and it's making people happy," Scanlon added.

Scanlon said he is hoping that his new meme fame will raise awareness of his employer, Giant Bomb. "I work with very talented and hard-working dudes," he said.

Drew Scanlon
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