Got Perfect Pitch? Carol, Please Delete This Group: One FaceBook Group’s Cultural Evolution

I first joined the “Got Perfect Pitch?” FaceBook group because I wanted to be in a supportive environment where I wasn’t the only wacky and misunderstood person in the world. Soon enough, I was able to share anecdotes and relish in the stories others shared too. One day I posted about my delight as I was driving on the freeway—I was able to adjust my cruise control so the lines on the road were pulsing in the exact rhythm as the symphony on the radio. Everyone in the group understood me. The other day I shared how tickled I was to be driving in between two mountainous regions which made me hear two neighboring radio stations simultaneously. Imagine, one was a chorus in Latin and the other was a trumpet concerto and both were in the same key—what were the odds? More importantly, what are the odds that anyone outside of this group would care or even understand why this was delightful to me?

The group started out for people to first find out what pitch abilities they shared with other members: “Can you do also do that?” Along the way, we discovered that some leading researchers were lurking in the group, especially the ones responsible for secretly editing the Wikipedia definitions in the dark of night. At some point, synesthetes began arguing about what color C was, leading to endless battles comparing harmonic hues and textures.

When savant Matt Savage graduated from Berklee and joined the group, he sometimes ‘liked’ posts while traveling to perform around the world. Then, the movie Pitch Perfect 2 came out, and membership surged. New members were highly disappointed that the group had nothing to do with the movie. Remarkably, the existing members responded with a cohesiveness to the imposters trolling the group. Puns were not spared, “name this note” tests were posted, and all kinds of antagonizing tests were initiated to provoke and scare off the posers.

And then, Carol joined. Judging by her profile photo, Carol seemed like a polite retiree who enjoys a glass of red wine with her dinner every night. According to her about-page, she is from Green Bay, Wisconsin and went to Green Bay East High School, and she currently lives in Durham, North Carolina. She also studied to be a Prevention Specialist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and worked at Eno River Unitarian as a Universalist Fellow.

Oy, oy, oy!

Carol never participated in any group discussion, but on January 11, 2016, she posted, “Please delete this group.” The brazen discussion-starter yielded 34 likes in response to the first WTF comment within the first few hours. One very polite member tried to ask, “Carol, are you trying to leave this group? Or do you first want to hear the lamentations of its members?” Next came this comment, “Between this and the weirdo who thought the group was about the Pitch Perfect series, I’d say we really need a screening process for future comments” and finally, someone polished off the thread with the grumpy cat “No” meme.

After fifty-nine comments with varying degrees of not-so-niceties like “Y’all, she’s like 800 years old, she doesn’t understand the e-net and inter-mails,” it was determined that Carol may have been tipsy, was jealous of those with perfect pitch, or this accusation, “Your ‘g-string’ must be a bit tight because you’re not really ‘in tune’ with what’s going on.” Yes, perfect pitchers do have an addiction to puns. In the end, the moderator wrote “I just deleted her as per her request (I think) but this thread is too epic to delete.”

For screening new members, people proposed a captcha code of pitch identification. Members argued it would be cruel and the moderators opposed it, reiterating that this group is free and open to anyone who identifies with having perfect pitch. The territorial nature of this reaction is what taught the group members so much about each other. What started as a group for people to find commonalities with others who possess the same gift, turned into a safe space for sharing their vast weirdness, comorbid with perfect pitch.

Turns out, the epic thread engaged so many people that previously-silent members got to make friends and reunite with people from a previous life: “We were in band together, remember?” The love was alive and kicking from all corners of the world: “Sheesh, I leave this thread for a few hours to go to orchestra rehearsal and I come back to more of this! You people are crazy.” And to polish off Carol’s epic thread, was this last comment: “GET OUTTA HERE!!! IN G# DIMINISHED OR MINOR CHORD!!! BYE!!!”, with an immediate response: “Wait, you mean you want to leave things unresolved?” finished off with, “But this is such a sharp group and life would just be flat if it were deleted!”

Today, most posts include the Carol treatment, which is an insider joke that newbies learn to quickly study or die trying to adapt. People will either be sent to their room if they create dissonance or get Carol’d and be threatened with deletion, please. As a trigger warning, people are known to add “and stay out of this, Carol,” or “Carol was here.” When the average person posts a cat meme with the tagline “please delete this group,” it can be expected to earn at least one comment of “OMFG WE NEED T- SHIRTS.” My favorite posts are the ones by members who already anticipate an avalanche when they share a video of a fart concerto, fully notated. Thus they self-flagellate by adding the tagline “Carol, I already went to my room, please.”

Today, January 15, 2018, is the second Caroliversary. It’s good to see her drinking in solidarity. L’chaim!

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