Going viral

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A lot of things have happened in the last decade, from the election of America’s first black president to the Great Recession. But let’s admit it, 90% of your popular culture and news updates come from the internet- and of your internet usage this probably takes up about 10% of your time. Here is a quick fire guide to what the world has been doing the rest of the time they’ve been contemplating their computer screens and the internet memes contained within- and it isn’t half an awe inspiring insight into the human race.

D**k in a box

Originally a song featured on Saturday Night Live, the collaborative comedy piece featured Justin Timberlake and the creators of equally viral “I’m on a boat” song. Essentially the sketch focuses on what to do when you’re wise enough to know when a gift needs giving- and a step by step guide on how to go about… effectuating such a gesture.

Rickrolling

The internet meme which needs no introduction (and indeed characteristically never does). Basically internet users share links online supposedly relevant to a particular subject, which actually takes the user to a youtube video of Rick Astley’s 80s hit “Never Gonna Give You Up”. A meme whose awesome factor shot off the scale when the song featured in New York’s annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.

Rage Guy

Speaking of trolling, no compilation of internet memes would be complete without a mention of Rage Guy et al. Made famous through the internet site 4chan, rage guy is a never ending series of comics wherein the main character is particularly annoyed by an everyday situation (such as mistaking a fist bump for a high five) ending in the same final comic pane of aggravated exclamation- “ffffffuuuuuu”. Rage guy is usually joined by trollface, forever alone and cereal guy, among countless others.

Advice Dog

Advice dog was the first in a series of photoshopped images against a bright spiral background bearing two sentence captions that were inevitably hilarious. From Insanity Wolf, Paranoid Parrot, Foul Bachelor Frog and Socially Awkward Penguin, Advice Dog spawned the creation of an unending creative pool of memes allowing like-minded internet users to revel in their own complete lack of shame and personal hygiene.

R Kelly’s ‘Trapped In the Closet’

Also known as the HipHopera, R Kelly’s Trapped in the Closet reached internet fame of vast proportions as users tuned in to 22 chapters of ongoing narrative of adultery and general sordid tales, inevitably leading to a bizarre and unexpected message about aids, not to mention numerous parodies.

Star Wars Kid

Originally an innocent video of your average canadian teenager swinging a metal pole around as if it was a lightsaber, the student became a Youtube celebrity when the video was found and duly distributed. The student brought legal action against the culprits and the case was settled out of court, but not before TV shows like Arrested Development and American Dad honoured the viral video.

Bed Intruder

Also known as the YouTube video with a happy ending. A group of YouTubers would habitually auto tune news stories and publish them to adoring fans, and they reached their peak of fame when an animated Antoine Dodson featured on CBS news commenting on the attempted rape of his sister in the Lincoln Park projects (a low income housing estates). It was the most viewed YouTube video of 2010 and the song was actually released on iTunes, and the continued success and proceeds of the song has meant that the Dodson family have now moved out of the projects, and no longer need to hide their kids, hide their wives or hide their husbands.

Lolcats

The classic meme that is arguably the most well known, consists of a photograph of a cat (already you know we’re onto a winner) with a humorous caption with poor grammar and/or spelling. Trends appear, like monorail cat, invisible props, ceiling cat and cats professing to be “In ur [noun] [verb]ing ur [related noun]”

We mustn’t forget the many other greats of YouTube of course, such as Alex Day reads twilight (no relation to yours truly, unfortunately), the guy who saw two rainbows or that Scottish dude who really did not like Iceland post-volcanic ash. These are just a token few internet memes that we can cite in the last decade, but the joy of all things viral is that new videos, comics and captions are arising every day, and with sharing sites such as Tumblr you really have no excuse to be wasting all of your valuable procrastination time facebook stalking- when things like internet memes win Emmys and recognition in Entertainment Weekly, you really can’t afford to not keep up to date!

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