Ball Pit

From Fanlore
Jump to: navigation, search
Meme
Synonyms: an extra hour in the ball pit
Date Started: July 2014
Related:
See Also: DashCon
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

A ball pit (originally called "ball crawl" and also known as a ball pool or ball pond) is a padded box or pool filled with small colorful hollow plastic balls generally no larger than 3 inches (7.6 cm) in diameter. Instead of balls, other spherical objects can be used, such as balloons. It is typically employed as a recreation and exercise for children but larger versions for adults are available, and may be found at bars and some offices to help employees relax.[1]

In fandom, the Ball Pit meme is a Tumblr meme that originated from a July 2014 fan convention, DashCon.

The Meme

During the convention, Emma Grant, an attendee, created a faux 'postcard' and posted it to her tumblr. The image quickly became the source of the Ball Pit meme.

The origin of the Ball Pit meme
She wrote later:
"This was a truly enormous room set up with round tables and chairs on one side, and on the other was the jumping castle and ball pit we'd been hearing about. It was cheesy, yes, but there were people jumping and laughing in the bouncy house, and others hanging out in the ball pit. They were having fun! It was cute! So I snapped a picture with my phone. And then I thought, "Oh, I know! I'll add a cheesy postcard-like bit of text to this and post it on Tumblr."

Ten minutes later, it had 1000 notes. And then 2000, and 3000. I could continuously click "refresh" on the page and watch the notes go up by 5 every time. And then I started reading the comments on the post.

Yikes. So the thing is, I hadn't meant to make fun of the con. I just wanted to post a silly little picture. But I tagged it "Dashcon" without realizing that people all over the world were watching that tag and waiting for more wank to pop up, and so it went viral. At first, people thought it wasn't even taken at DashCon -- it looked so pathetic that they thought it was a joke. And when I looked at the picture again, I saw what they were seeing out of context, and yeah. Wow. (I showed that picture to my husband when I got home and he cracked up laughing. It really is that ridiculous.)"[2]

However, it was not until later, when the Welcome To Night Vale live reading event was canceled[3]that the Ball Pit Meme was born. As compensation to attendees who had paid extra for reserved seating to the canceled reading, the convention organizers promised, among other things, "an extra hour in the ball pit."[4][5][6] [7] The ludicrousness of offering 500+ fans more time in the overly small ball pit immediately took off and fans began flooding tumblr and twitter with photo-manips of the ball pit in various scenarios, often combining them with other Internet memes. Several ball-pit cosplays at other conventions have also photographed and posted to Tumblr.[8]

At one point, one or more individuals reportedly urinated in the ball pit.[9]

References

  1. Alena Hall, Want To Change Your Office Culture? Trying Adding A Ball Pit. Huffington Post, 2015-02-18.
  2. DashCon LJ post dated July 14, 2014.
  3. Jeffrey Cranor, Apologies to fans in Northern Illinois. WebCite.
  4. Tara Lynne, DashCon Disaster – Welcome to Night Vale Walks Out & More. The Geekiary, July 12, 2014.
  5. CLARIFICATIONS AND BACK UP PLANS- tumblr post dated July 12, 2014; WayBack Machine link
  6. Gavia Baker-Whitelaw, The inaugural DashCon 2014 did not go as planned. Daily Dot, 2014-07-13.
  7. Heidi McDonald, "Ultimate when a con is crap: DashCon 2014 solicited people for money to pay the hotel bill while the con was running. The Beat, 2014-07-14, found 2014-08-26. WebCite.
  8. For example, see Bessyboo's August 9, 2014 post, I did the thing. I’m not sorry..
  9. [1]