Make America Kittens Again

It’s been a weird week.

Back in February, someone* asked if I could do a Trump version of my UKIP blocking plugin. About five small code changes later, I had one in the Chrome store:

Since then it’s been ticking along, used by only a couple of hundred people including me, and gaining a few users each day.

And then, out of nowhere, I got an email about it, and then a message on Facebook. I found out it was in The Metro. Then I found out it was on Bored Panda, and the Daily Dot.  It chalked up my first, and probably only, appearance in Glamour (and via Glamour, Teen Vogue). Soon all the big repost-y blogs were on it – Business Insider (er, business?), Mashable, and everyone’s favourite content-aggregation-turbine, the Huffington Post. It went international: Le Figaro somehow managed to turn it into a video item, here it is in the news in Iran (where a few outlets ran it), and in Japan. And meanwhile, on YouTube:

The result of this: currently around 34,000 users (update – now well over 40k), and over 50GB of traffic per day to the kitten images (which, as of v1.0.1 I’ve moved onto Amazon S3). I make that, give or take, 200,000 kittens per day (KPD). And someone – I have no idea who – set up a shop selling horribly ugly MAKA merchandise. I got a few really nice emails from people who liked the extension, while a few people online got really mad at it. So it goes.

Also, from a news point of view, a few things struck me: many, many reports listed the extension as “new”, which of course it isn’t. One, which I won’t name, misspelled “president”. Of all the sites that covered it, only one got in touch to ask me why I made it. And it’s really hard to work out why the whole thing suddenly took off like this – as far as I can tell, the Daily Dot got there first, and then it was effectively reblogged out from there, but I may be wrong.

If you’d like to try the extension, it’s available here, and the code is on Github.

* I’m embarrassed to say I can’t remember who – sorry!




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