If you're a frequent Facebook visitor then chances are that you have come across images of a stick figure called Bill being shared by your friends.
If you're wondering who Bill is and what he is all about, "Be like Bill" is a popular meme which reflects on unwanted social media behavior in a subtle manner. Bill is the apostle of etiquette as the meme would have you believe. Why? Because he does not show off his latest acquisitions on Facebook, does not boast or engage in debates with trolls.
Using tongue-in-cheek humor, the "Be like Bill" meme has garnered immense popularity on social media, specially on Facebook.
The brainchild of an Italy-based Moldovian programmer Eugeniu Croitoru, "Be like Bill" images started appearing online in late 2015. However, the meme's popularity has spiked since January this year thanks to a dedicated Facebook page, which has over 1.57 million likes to its credit.
"Just a fictional character who conveys messages in a funny yet often sensible ways," says Croitoru about Bill.
The meme's are written by Croitoru in tandem with his colleague Debabrata Nath who asserts that Bill just wants to make one laugh and he has "no resemblance to any real life person."
The "Be like Bill" idea was spurred when Croitoru posted a similar-looking stick figure on Videogamemes, a gaming page owned by him. The meme ended up being so popular that he and Nath went ahead and created the separate Facebook page dedicated to the meme.
Such is the popularity of the "Be like Bill" meme that it has inspired incarnations in other languages. In Malaysia he is called Rashid and in Arabic he is Bashir or Bilal. There is even a "Be Like Emily" for the ladies, which is inspired by the meme, as well as a Spanish version "Sé Como José."
While "Be like Bill" may have its loyalists, it is also facing brickbats and backlash. Memes such as the one below are popping up asking people not to be like Bill.
Even UK's Queensland Police Department is up in arms with the meme and has gone ahead and issued an arrest warrant!
We're searching for a man w/ slight build, dark hat, no nose. Reports of disturbing ppl’s timelines. Answers to Bill pic.twitter.com/IXILWVlPC8
— QPS Media Unit (@QPSmedia) January 25, 2016
The passive-aggressive message has annoyed many people and led to the creation of a counter meme "Don't be like Bill or Emily."
However, it seems there is no stopping the stick figure, as over the weekend, a new meme generator "Be like Me" has now been launched by the creators of "Be like Bill." What does it do? It allows one to replace Bill's name with their name and create their own meme.
How to use the generator you ask? Simply head to this link and insert your name in the tab. Check the gender option and then click on "Show my story." Voila! You have your own "Be like [your name]" meme.