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'Blinking Guy' Channels Meme Fame Into Multiple Sclerosis Fundraiser

DREW SCANLON: My name is Drew Scanlon. I'm a video producer, but you may know me better as the blinking guy in the GIF.


Yeah, that guy - he's the blonde who raises his eyebrows, tilts his head a bit and blinks several times in what appears to be astonishment. Like, really? Are you sure you want to go there? For example, let's say a guy on Twitter is mansplaining Susan Sontag - cue the blinking guy GIF - or you say, really can't wait for that next Nickelback album. Bring on the blinking guy. So how did Drew Scanlon become the blinking GIF guy? Well, he tells us he used to review video games on a website where he appeared in livestreams.

SCANLON: My co-worker Jeff Gerstmann was playing a game called Starbound, and he made a joke. And that's just the reaction that I made (laughter).

BLOCK: And so a GIF was born. Scanlon started to see his face all over the Internet.

SCANLON: I used to be very surprised - like, whoa. All right. That's weird.

BLOCK: Well now, Scanlon has decided it's time to use the GIF for good. So this week, he took to Twitter.

SCANLON: Hi, Internet. I'm Drew, and this is my face. If this GIF has ever brought you joy in the past, I humbly ask you to consider making a donation to the National MS Society. It would mean a lot to me and to those I know affected by the disease. Donate at bikingwhiteguy.com.

BLOCK: Two of Scanlon's close friends are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and this weekend, he is biking from San Francisco to Northern California's wine country to raise money for MS research. Scanlon says he wants to use any memes - OK, means - possible to raise awareness.

SCANLON: I usually don't post the meme myself because it feels to me - I don't know. It feels a little uncool. It feels like the band wearing the band's T-shirt a little bit. But I figured if I could somehow find a way to leverage the popularity of the meme for a good cause, that's something that I should try to do.

BLOCK: Scanlon says he has surpassed his initial goal of $10,000. And for those unmoved by his selfless act, Scanlon would say, cue the blinking guy GIF. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

As special correspondent and guest host of NPR's news programs, Melissa Block brings her signature combination of warmth and incisive reporting. Her work over the decades has earned her journalism's highest honors, and has made her one of NPR's most familiar and beloved voices.

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