So I saw this SEO copywriter joke a bunch of times yesterday. I love it:

“So this SEO copywriter walks into a bar, grill, pub, public house, Irish bar, bartender, drinks, beer, wine, liquor”

(If you don’t know what SEO copywriting is, it means writing with specific keywords in certain orders to help sites rank higher in search engines like Google. Hence writing “bar, grill, pub,” etc. to get into more searches. I’m tempted to demonstrate it here but I don’t know what I’d want to optimize for — other than the joke, the funny joke about the SEO copywriter on Twitter.)

It was weird, because usually we don’t keep seeing the same joke. It kept being attributed to different people in retweets. It wasn’t like @alqaeda’s classic, “not falling for that one,” and other big hits that keep referring back to the same source.

So I poked around and the earliest “SEO copywriter walks into a bar” I found was by @lahaff, who tweeted it last Thursday. That’s as far back as Twitter’s search would go. He has 47 followers and his tweet has been retweeted and mentioned a grand total of 8 times — only once with the new style:

But then on Friday it was tweeted by @mickjkpg (who cut off “four loko” and the period from the end, making room for a couple of hashtags. Note that was still a few days ago. I never saw it until today, when it blew up.

It’s funny that subsequent users — e.g. @cun and @LAWeekly — copied exactly what @mickjkpg tweeted: same list, same order, in quotation marks, and with no period at the end. It’s clearly cut-and-pasted — so it’s not like any old “walks into a bar” joke you might hear in a bar and and forget where you heard it. The fact that anyone can do a quick search and see it all over Twitter didn’t stop people from effectively taking credit:

Well who’s going to complain… Because it’s been around a lot longer than last week. Someone put it on Reddit back on December 4, adding,

This was stolen from a friend’s Twitter and he might have stolen it from someone else, but I still wanted to post it.

(At least he tried. Speaking of which, thanks @JayFredin for looking that up.)

So who knows? Maybe it is one of those old standard jokes — just one limited to a small, specialized community until now.

Funny how long things can stay unknown until they hit the right nodes and suddenly go fully-blown.