An internet meme is an idea that rapidly spreads throughout the Internet, and can take the form of a text, picture, video, website, or even a simple word or phrase. There have been an endless amount of memes, almost as long as the Internet has existed. But if you haven’t seen the following memes on this list, then you’re probably not using the Internet correctly.
Nyan Cat is an 8-bit image of a grey cat with a pop tart body, flying through space. It first emerged on April 2nd, 2011 when the animation was posted on a daily comics site. Upon release, this gif snowballed, quickly spreading to others on social media sites. Its popularity stems from the Internet’s love of cute cats and absurd humor, leading to a number of parodies and spinoffs.
All Your Base Are Belong to Us
This phrase arose from poor translation efforts of a Japanese game titled “Zero Wing”. In the opening dialogue, the original English translation featured this infamous line (all your base are belong to us), which has gained notoriety in Internet culture. Many individuals and media sites have made reference to this line of Engrish, including Youtube and Wired.
Numa Numa Song
In 2004, Gary Brolsma put up a video on the Internet of himself singing a song titled “Dragostea din tei”. This video quickly racked up millions of views, rapidly gaining popularity among online communities. Brolsma’s cover spawned a number of parodies and response videos, solidifying its cultural significance.
Lolcats are an image series, consisting of a funny caption imposed with a photo of a cat. The text mimics a form of broken English, with often grammatically incorrect and misspelled words. Though the exact emergence of Lolcats is unknown, it may have appeared as early as 2006. This meme spawned a number of spinoffs and parodies, and even a series of published books.
“Rickrolling” is an Internet prank that involves enticing an individual to click on a relevant hyperlink, only to have them lead to a video of Rick Astley’s song “Never Gonna Give You Up”. Originating from 4chan, this prank quickly spread to other communities, with users rickrolling others. In addition, this prank has been used in response to a number of events, including Scientology protests in 2008.
Star Wars kid
The Star Wars Kid is a video meme, featuring a young boy that is swinging a golf club like a lightsaber. One of the most popular videos online, the original video has over a billion videos since its emergence a decade ago. Unfortunately, the student in the video was not too pleased with his fame, filing a lawsuit against the individuals that posted the video.
Dramatic Chipmunk involves a video of a prairie dog turning its head to the camera, amidst dramatic music. Though only five seconds long, this video quickly gained notoriety, becoming one of the most popular videos of 2007.
In 2005, a group of players in the game World of Warcraft decided to document their attempt at a raid in a video. Before a particularly difficult enemy, the group meticulously made plans, only to be thwarted by a single player charging in, screaming his name “Leeroy Jenkins”. As the group’s plans fell apart, many members expressed disgust amidst Leeroy’s final words: “At least I have chicken.” This video quickly gained popularity, spreading through the internet and even making a mention in the mainstream game show Jeopardy.
This video of a cat playing a jaunty tune on an electric keyboard was first made in 1984, remaining in obscurity until a blogger posted a mashup of the video in 2009. The Internet community adapted this video into memes and parody videos as a sign of failure, akin to that of vaudeville performances. Shortly after, this video gained wide media coverage, appearing in many TV shows and advertisements.
Diet Coke and Mentos
Ever wondered what would happen when you combine Diet Coke and Mentos? In 2002, this experiment gained massive popularity, as many posted videos of themselves combining the two to make geysers. As years passed, more and more enthusiasts would try to set world records for the most simultaneous Diet Coke and Mentos geysers.
Rachel Hyun Kim is a writer for Resource Nation, an online resource that gives advice on B2B lead generation for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Rachel has written on a variety of topics, ranging from phone systems to telemarketing companies.