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Innovation of the Week: Millennials to Snake People

Thr Boston Globe; The New York Times; The Wall Street Journal; The Washington Post

What is it? Millennials to Snake People, a Web browser extension

Innovator: Eric Bailey

What were they thinking? Coder Eric Bailey had seen one too many headlines casting millennials as “this weird, dehumanized, alien phenomenon,” as he put it, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. So like a good millennial, he decided to fight back with online mockery — creating a browser extension that changed the word “millennials” to “snake people” anytime it appeared online. Seminal moments in snake people history got the treatment, too. Occupy Wall Street, for instance, became the “Great Ape-Snake War.”

Did it work? The browser extension developed a strong following right after it was launched in 2015. But it really took off last week, when The New York Times ran an amusing correction to a fact-check piece on President Trump’s claims on trade deficits: “Because of an editing error involving a satirical text-swapping web browser extension, an earlier version of this article misquoted a passage from an article by the Times reporter Jim Tankersley. The sentence referred to America’s narrowing trade deficit during ‘the Great Recession,’ not during ‘the Time of Shedding and Cold Rocks.’ (Pro tip: Disable your ‘Millennials to Snake People’ extension when copying and pasting.)”