UPDATED: 11:10 a.m. EST — “Taiwan Jones” became a trending topic on Twitter Friday morning just hours after the name was included in a tweet about a Howard University student who had failed a midterm exam. The joke was on Taiwan Jones, who would be among to last to learn that he flunked miserably, as the internet retweeted the comment made by a plane passenger who said he just happened to be sitting next to a Howard professor grading exams.
The subsequent memes, gifs and other teasing tweets poking fun at the situation were still being posted gratuitously more than 24 hours after Twitter user @Old_Orleans told the word about what he spied.
Multiple new “Taiwan Jones” imposter accounts have since been spawned, but the first Taiwan Jones account to respond to the original tweet was created in 2016 and had a bio that only read “Howard ‘ 19,” making that one the most credible of the bunch.
Either way, nothing has been verified, although when the viral dust settled, @Old_Orleans did finally tweet the equivalent of a “sike!”
A single tweet from an apparently random traveler turned Twitter upside down Thursday when it alleged a Howard University student had failed a midterm exam badly. How did the purported plane passenger know this? Twitter user @Old_Orleans said he watched his seat mate grade tests “the whole flight.”
As random as the tweet was, it quickly went viral, piling up more than 100,000 retweets and sparking a lively conversation about the student, whose name — Taiwan Jones — briefly became a trending topic.
@Old_Orleans, also known as “roy,” continued his Taiwan tweets, which came on the even of Howard’s renowned homecoming festivities.
But Roy wasn’t finished. He wanted to the see the Twitter storm that he sparked explode across social media, so he stoked the flames a bit.
Other Twitter users quickly took the bait, and then some, chiming in with their opinions on Taiwan Jones and speculating what would come next for the academic underachiever.
That set the stage for the grand appearance of Taiwan Jones himself! Twitter user @JonesTaiwan_ slid in the conversation to comfort the concerned, saying “the search is over.” The Twitter account for Taiwan Jones was started last year and has a bio attached to it that simply says “Howard ‘ 19.”
Of course, those who had been following the thread had some words for Taiwan Jones that ranged from encouragement to mocking, and everything else in between.
And then Twitter poured it on with an obligatory, seemingly never ending stream of gifs.
But after his initial tweet was liked tens of thousands of times, “roy,” marveling at his work when realizing an actual Howard University student named Taiwan Jones really did exist, fessed up and swiftly ended the conversation just as quickly as it started.