NEW YORK — There's no question. U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders stood out on Inauguration Day, and, if you don't know, it was because of a picture that showed him sitting down.
Sanders seemed comfortably bundled up, legs crossed, wearing mittens that a teacher in his state of Vermont made, as he waited on the steps of the U.S. Capitol for the ceremony to begin. People quickly latched onto the image, and it became the basis of countless memes.
One of the people who latched onto it was Nick Sawhney, a 22-year-old Computer Science graduate student at New York University (NYU). Sawhney set up a website Wednesday with one goal: to let people take the now iconic image of Sanders and put it anywhere.
Sawhney said in a Skype interview that things got rolling when he and people he knew started sharing their own memes.
"I made the site on a whim because I had an hour to kill, and I thought it'd be a fun inside joke with my friends," Sawhney said via a Twitter message on Thursday. "Didn't expect it to blow up like this at all, but it's been a really fun time trying to keep it running all night."
Sawhney said the atmosphere on Twitter on Inauguration Day had an overall positive vibe to it and not the overwhelming doomscrolling that seemed to dominate the platform, especially in recent days.
Sawhney tweeted about the website, which taps into Google Maps.
Using the site is about as easy as you can get. You type in an address, hit return, and Sanders and his mittens appear there.
Depending on the image that's pulled for that location, you could catch the senator sitting on a sidewalk, in an intersection or street, or grabbing some chair inside a building.
Sawhney's tweet about the website went out at 8:46 p.m. on Wednesday (Jan. 20). By 11 a.m. on Thursday, it had gotten more than 19,000 retweets and more than 106,000 likes.
He said that every time someone requests an image, Google charges him a bit of money for using the image. That's why he included a note on the site about accepting donations in order to keep it running.