Mystery 'iPhone Girl' On Her Way To Meme Status

Internet memes can be a lot of fun for those spreading them. When actual people are at the center of them, like the "iPhone Girl," as she's come to be called, sometimes not so much. In this case, a young worker at Apple contractor Foxconn Technology Group's factory in Shenzhen, China apparently forgot to delete some pictures of herself that she had snapped on an iPhone she was testing. That iPhone ended up in the hands of a bemused British man who posted the pictures last week on the Web site visitors latched on to one of the pictures, which shows the smiling young woman making "peace" or "victory" signs at her station on the factory line, competing with each other to discover more details about the woman in the photo and spreading it to other Web sites.

The iPhone Girl meme has picked up steam quickly. As of Thursday morning, there are nearly 250 news stories about her on Google News' main Sci/Tech cluster for iPhone Girl-related articles.

Time will tell if iPhone Girl has the virility of overnight Internet sensations like Chris Crocker of "Leave Britney Alone" fame, much less the staying power of famous ongoing memes like "LOLcats" or "rickrolling".

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What iPhone Girl has in common with such memes is that it emerged from a Web community,, devoted in part to creating such viral phenomena over the Internet (or "Intertubes" to reference another meme that began following the spread of a quote by Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) describing the Internet as "a series of tubes").

Crocker's fame came on, which heavily promotes its "most viewed" videos. LOLcats and rickrolling emerged from the 4chan imageboard site, where meme-creation is arguably the main purpose of contributors.

4chan, of course, is also home to meme-creation of a sort very different than cutesy LOLcats or harmless rickrolling trickery. The site's random board, known as "/b/", regularly produces sociopathic mob assaults on grieving families and children.

So far, iPhone Girl, the woman not the meme, is reportedly "scared" by the media attention she's been receiving.

"She's really scared by the media. She told me she wanted to quit her job and go back home to get away from this. We let her off work today so she could rest," a Foxconn spokesperson said, according to the Washington Post.

Not a good sign for people who care about the human beings in the middle of some memes.