On June 8 2021, an Imgur account shared a map chart meme titled “Average Jeans Color per State,” captioned “beware of internet facts,” a message we strongly endorse:
Underneath the map (apparently shared to Tumblr), comments from two accounts appeared:
In that exchange, one Tumblr account questioned the source of the data used to create the “average jeans color” map, and another assured the first that chart was not based on any real data:
How ttf do you even get data like this?
if you click through to the source, which is reddit, you can see that in many cases you don’t need any data at all! you can just retitle a population map, and delete your account when people ask for a source. hope this helps ❤
On that post, a “source” was listed as “Reddit.com,” and a linked May 2019 thread from r/MapPorn was titled “Average Jean Colors Per State, 2018.” As the second person stated, the original poster had deleted their account:
Just prior to the “Average Jeans Color” r/MapPorn post in May 2019, the Twitter account @TerribleMaps shared the image:
Only the title of the map appeared alongside the tweet, but @TerribleMaps had a bio reading:
The home of terrible maps with a pinch of humour[.]
However, the “Average Jeans Color Per State” map was not new in 2019; in 2018, CollegeHumor CEO Sam Reich tweeted the image (“census data is fascinating”):
Not long after, Reich described the “average jeans color” map as a “joke” in a response tweet:
The “Average Jeans Color Per State, 2018” map chart was a good example of humor getting divorced from its context and then appearing all over social media to sow confusion. It was tweeted as apparent humor in July 2018, revived by @TerribleMaps in March 2019, and migrated to r/MapPorn in May 2019. A concurrent variation on Tumblr was slightly better suited to addressing the quality of the information, if only for the comments.