List of Internet phenomena (page 2)


Tron Guy
  • Ate my balls – An early example of an Internet meme. Created to depict a particular celebrity or fictional character eating testicles.[90]
  • Baidu 10 Mythical Creatures – A popular meme in the People's Republic of China regarding a series of mythical creatures, with names which referred to various Chinese profanities.[91][92] Seen as a form of protest against increased Internet censorship in China introduced in early 2009.[93][94]
  • Bert is Evil – A satirical website stated that Bert of Sesame Street is the root of many evils. A juxtaposition of Bert and Osama Bin Laden subsequently appeared in a real poster in a Bangladesh protest.[95][96]
  • Rosinés Chávez – In January 2012, Rosinés Chávez, the 14 year old daughter of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, posted a picture of herself on Instagram holding U.S. currency.[97][98] The Washington Post reported "In polarized Venezuela, where the president excoriates businessmen and calls capitalism a scourge on humanity, the photo touched off a controversy as critics went to social media sites to mock the first family."[99] Soon afterward, other people posted similar pictures of themselves holding cooking oil, coffee, sugar, and other staples which are sometimes hard to obtain in the country.[100]
  • Cigar guy – An October 2010 photograph of Tiger Woods at the 2010 Ryder cup included a costumed man with a wig and cigar, which spread widely and was photoshopped.[101]
  • Crasher Squirrel – A photograph by Melissa Brandts of a squirrel which popped up into a timer-delayed shot of Brandts and her husband while vacationing in Banff National Park, Canada, just as the camera went off. The image of the squirrel has since been added into numerous images on the Internet.[102][103][104]
  • Eastwooding – After Clint Eastwood's speech at the 2012 Republican National Convention, in which he spoke to an empty chair representing President Barack Obama, photos were posted by users on the Internet of people talking to empty chairs, with various captions referring to the chair as either Obama or Eastwood.[105][106][107]
  • Ecce Homo / Ecce Mono / Potato Jesus – An attempt in August 2012 by a local woman to restore Elías García Martínez's aging fresco of Jesus in Borja, Spain leads to a botched, amateur-ish, monkey-looking image, leading to several image-based memes.[108][109]
  • Goatse.cx – A shock image of a distended anus.[110]
  • Heineken Looter Guy – An Associated Press photo taken in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, under the caption, "A looter carries a bucket of beer out of a grocery store in New Orleans." – the original photo shows a black man in waist-deep waters carrying a tub full of bottles of beer. This image and the man's face were incorporated into a parody of a Heineken magazine advertisement.[111][112]
A LOLcat
  • Islamic Rage Boy – A series of photos of Shakeel Bhat, a Muslim activist whose face became a personification of angry Islamism in the western media. The first photo dates back to his appearance in 2007 at a rally in Srinigar, the capital of Indian-administered Kashmir. Several other photos in other media outlets followed, and by November 2007, there were over one million hits for "Islamic Rage Boy" on Google and his face appeared on boxer shorts and bumper stickers.[113][114]
  • Kermit Bale – An Internet meme[115] from the Livejournal gossip blog Oh No They Didn't in which the original poster constructed a detailed post pointing out the similarities between Kermit the Frog and actor Christian Bale.[116][117] In a mock interview with Netscape, Kermit "commented" on the phenomenon, saying: "I had absolutely no idea. But, now that I look at the Internet, there sure are a lot of similarities between us. Christian and I haven't met, but I'm really looking forward to talking to him about this. As for the rumors that we're related: well, it's pretty unlikely, but since I'm one of 2,353 brothers and sisters, anything is a possibility."[118]
  • Little Fatty – Starting in 2003, the face of Qian Zhijun, a student from Shanghai, was superimposed onto various other images.[119][120]
  • LOLcat – A collection of humorous image macros featuring cats with misspelled phrases, such as, "I Can Has Cheezburger?".[121] The earliest versions of LOLcats appeared on 4chan, usually on Saturdays, which were designated "Caturday", as a day to post photos of cats.[122]
  • McKayla is not impressed – A tumblr blog that went viral after taking an image of McKayla Maroney, the American gymnast who won the silver medal in the vault at the 2012 Summer Olympics, on the medal podium with a disappointed look on her face, and photoshopping it into various "impressive" places and situations, e.g. on top of the Great Wall of China and standing next to Usain Bolt.[123][124][125]
  • O RLY? – Originally a text phrase on Something Awful, and then an image macro done for 4chan. Based around a picture of a snowy owl.[126]
  • Oolong – Photos featured on a popular Japanese website of a rabbit that is famous for its ability to balance a variety of objects on its head.[127]
  • The Saugeen Stripper – A female student at the University of Western Ontario performed a striptease at a birthday party and dozens of digital images of the party ended up on the Internet.[128]
  • "Seriously McDonalds" – A photograph apparently showing racist policies introduced by McDonald's. The photograph, which is a hoax, went viral, especially on Twitter, in June 2011.[129]
  • Allison Stokke – A high school track athlete who in 2007 had a year-old picture of her adjusting her hair at a track meet in New York had made its way across the Internet. She had more than 1,000 new messages on her MySpace page. A three-minute video of Stokke standing against a wall and analyzing her performance at another meet had been posted on YouTube and viewed 150,000 times.[130]
  • Tron Guy – A husky, 48-year-old computer consultant, Jay Maynard, designed a Tron costume, complete with skin-tight spandex and light-up plastic armor, in 2003 for Penguicon 1.0 in Detroit, Michigan. The Internet phenomenon began when an article was posted to Slashdot, followed by Fark, including images of this costume.[131]
  • Vancouver Riot Kiss – An image of a young couple lying on the ground kissing each other behind a group of rioters during the riots following the Vancouver Canucks' Stanley Cup loss to the Boston Bruins on 15 June 2011. The couple, later identified as Australian Scott Jones and local resident Alexandra Thomas, actually were not kissing but Jones was consoling Thomas after being knocked down by a police charge.[132]


Gary Brolsma, aka "The Numa Numa Guy"
The band OK Go has created several unconventional music videos that have become viral.


The paperclip that Kyle MacDonald traded for a house


  • 2 Girls 1 Cup – Videos of two girls engaging in coprophilia.[188] This video has also originated a series of amateur videos showing the reactions of people seeing the original video.
  • Angry German Kid/Keyboard Crasher – A video of a German teenager boy getting so frustrated in playing on an online video game that he begins ranting at the screen and smashing his keyboard. Though later shown to be staged, numerous parodies of the video were made, with made-up translations from the initial ranting, and became popular in Japan under the name "Keyboard Crasher".[189][190]
  • Anime Music Videos/MADs – A staple of anime conventions both in Japan and Western countries, these fan-made videos take footage from various anime works and re-edits them in different order, addition of new soundtracks (including to full-length songs), and other manipulations such as lip-syncing characters to lyrics; with the propagation of the Internet and popularity of anime in the Unites States in 2003, this type of user-created content flourished, and grew to include footage from other works including video games and Western animated shows.[191][192]
  • The Annoying Orange – A series of comedy sketches featuring a talking orange annoying other fruits and vegetables, as well as some appliances, with his one-liners and puns.[193]
  • "Arrest of Vladimir Putin" – A viral video showing mock arrest of Vladimir Putin and his trial.[194][195]
  • Ask a Ninja – Popular podcast featuring a ninja who answers viewers' questions.[138]
A geyser created by Diet Coke and Mentos
  • Benny Lava – A video created as a soramimi to Kalluri Vaanil by Indian dancer Prabhu Deva.[196]
  • Bed Intruder Song – A remix of a televised news interview of Antoine Dodson, the brother of a victim of a home invasion and attempted assault.[197]
  • Boom goes the dynamite – Brian Collins, a nervous sports anchor, fumbles highlights, concluding with this infamous catch phrase.[138][198] Popularly used in an episode of Family Guy among numerous other popular references, and made popular by Will Smith when he flubbed a line on stage during the 81st Academy Awards telecast. As of March 2009, Collins was a reporter for KXXV in Waco, Texas.
  • Charlie Bit My Finger – It features two young brothers; the younger bites the finger of the older brother.[199][200]
  • Charlie Chaplin Time Travel Video – A YouTube video posted in October 2010 by Irish filmmaker George Clarke in which he suggested that additional footage contained in a DVD release of the Charlie Chaplin film The Circus depicted a time traveler talking on a cell phone received millions of hits and became the subject of widespread Internet discussion.[201]
  • The Crazy Nastyass Honey Badger – A YouTube video posted in 2011 by Randall featuring a comedic narration dubbed over pre-existing National Geographic footage.[202]
  • Dancing Matt – Video game designer Matt Harding became famous in 2003 when he filmed himself dancing in front of various world landmarks. Eventually, a chewing gum company sent him off to dance on seven continents, and by October 2006, five million viewers have seen his videos.[203][204] Harding compiled two similar videos in 2008[205] and 2012.[206]
  • Diet Coke and Mentos – Geysers of carbonated drink mixed with Mentos.[138][207]
  • Double Rainbow – Video posted to YouTube by Paul Vasquez of him filming a rainbow with a secondary bow at Yosemite National Park. Vasquez, possibly intoxicated during the filming by the tone of his voice, is heard to say amazing and philosophical questions about the rainbows, such as "what do they mean?". Subsequently, the video went viral, furthered by an auto-tuned song using the video's audio track.[208]
  • Don't Tase Me, Bro! – An incident at a campus talk by Senator John Kerry.[209]
  • Downfall Parodies – A series of videos featuring a scene of Adolf Hitler (portrayed in this film by Swiss actor Bruno Ganz) ranting in German, from the 2004 movie Downfall. The original English subtitles have been removed and mock subtitles added to give the appearance that Hitler is ranting about modern, often trivial topics, reviews, just the audio and without the actual image of Hitler doing something and sometimes even breaking the fourth wall. While the clips are frequently removed for copyright violations, the film's director, Oliver Hirschbiegel, has stated that he enjoys them, and claims to have seen about 145 of them.[210][211] By 2010, there were thousands of such parodies, including many in which a self-aware Hitler is incensed that people keep making Downfall parodies.
  • Dramatic ChipmunkViral video featuring a prairie dog (almost always inaccurately called a chipmunk in the video title) turning its head suddenly toward the camera, with a zoom-in on its face while suspense music is playing.[138]
  • Edgar's fall – A video in which a Mexican boy tries to cross a river over a branch, which gets thrown off by his cousin.[212][213]
  • eHarmony Video Bio – Video of a woman calling herself "Debbie" in an online dating video who ends up getting very emotional over her affection for cats. The video, which received over 3 million hits on YouTube between 3 and 12 June 2011, was later attributed to Cara Hartmann, a 23-year-old entertainer and a resident of the United States.[214]
  • Epic Beard Man – Video of a bus fight in Oakland, California in which 67-year-old Thomas Bruso physically defends himself against an African-American man after being accused of racial prejudice then punched by him.[215] Within a week of the video's posting on YouTube, there were over 700,000 hits.[216]
  • Evolution of Dance – A video of a six-minute live performance of motivational speaker Judson Laipply's routine consisting of several recognizable dance movies to respective songs. The video was one of the earliest examples of a viral video posted on YouTube, having received 23 million hits within 2 weeks of posting in mid-2006, and was marked as an example of low budget, user-generated content achieving broadcast television-sized audiences.[217][218]
  • Fenton – Video of a dog chasing deer in Richmond Park, London, and its owner's attempts to call it off. The video was taken by the owner's 13-year-old son and gained over 800,000 hits on YouTube in November 2011.[219]
  • Fred Figglehorn – Video series featuring a fictional six-year-old named Fred with "anger-management issues", who lives with his alcoholic mother and whose father is doing jail time. Fred is portrayed by 18-year-old actor Lucas Cruikshank, and his YouTube channel had over 250,000 subscribers and was the fourth most subscribed channel in 2008.[220] He now has two films and a show on Nickelodeon
  • Heroine of Hackney – showing a local woman from Hackney berating looters during the 2011 England riots.[221]
  • I Like Turtles – A video news clip of 10-year-old Jonathon Ware at the Portland Rose Festival on 31 May 2007. His face was painted like a zombie, and when asked for comment by a news reporter, responded with the non sequitur "I like turtles!" The video was viewed more than 500,000 times by 30 July.[222]
  • Impossible Is Nothing – An exaggerated and falsehood-filled video résumé by Yale student Aleksey Vayner.[223] It was spoofed by actor Michael Cera in a video called "Impossible is the Opposite of Possible."
  • Jag har mensvärk! (Swedish for I have period pains!) – Nattliv quiz show hostess Eva Nazemson, suffering from menstruation-related nausea, vomits on-air while taking a call from a viewer.[224][225][226] She later went on to discuss the incident on The Tyra Banks Show[226] and The Graham Norton Show[227] after the video was posted on YouTube. The original video received 4.8 million views by mid-2010.[228]
  • "Ken Lee" – Badly garbled song sung by Bulgarian Music Idol hopeful Valentina Hasan. The name "Ken Lee" was misunderstood from the English lyric "Can't live," as in "Can't live, if living is without you" from the song "Without You" by Badfinger[229][230]
  • Kersal Massive – Three young chavs, apparently from Kersal (near Manchester, UK), attempting to perform a gangsta rap and expressing their dislike for the nearby suburb of Levenshulme.[231]
  • Keyboard Cat – Footage of a cat playing an electric keyboard that is appended to the end of blooper or other video as if to play the participants off stage after a mistake or gaffe.[121][232]
  • Kony 2012 – A online video created by Invisible Children, Inc. to highlight the criminal acts of Joseph Kony to an international spotlight as part of a campaign to seek his capture and arrest, quickly gained tens of millions of viewers within a week, becoming, according to CNN, "the most viral YouTube video of all time".[233][234]
  • The Last LectureCarnegie Mellon University professor Randy Pausch, dying of pancreatic cancer, delivers an upbeat lecture on Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.[235]
  • League of Ireland fan – An interview clip with a possibly intoxicated man claiming to be a supporter of Irish soccer team St Patrick's Athletic.[236][237]
  • "Leave Britney Alone!" – A video posted on YouTube by Chris Crocker in response to the media's harsh treatment of Britney Spears. The video was seen by 8 million by September 2007 and saw many repeat versions and parodies.[138][238][239]
Amber Lee Ettinger, aka "Obama Girl"
  • lonelygirl15 – A popular viral video spread via YouTube featuring a teenage girl named, "Bree", who would post video updates about a variety of issues dealing with the life of a typical teenager. It was later found to be a professionally made, fictional work, produced by Mesh Flinders in Beverly Hills and starring Jessica Lee Rose.[240]
  • Maru the cat – A running series of videos of a Scottish Fold cat taken by his Japanese owner that has a propensity to dive or jump into and out of boxes.[241][242]
  • Mélissa Theuriau – A French journalist and news anchor for M6. She became an Internet phenomenon after a compilation video, entitled "Beautiful News Reporter",[243] was posted online. She was voted by Maxim readers as "TV's sexiest news anchor" in 2007.[244]
  • Michelle Jenneke – "michelle jenneke dancing sexy as hell at junior world championships in Barcelona 2012" is a video of 19 year old hurdler, Michelle Jenneke during her per race worm up at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona. The video of Jenneke dancing pre-race was uploaded on the 25th of July on YouTube and had more than 13 million views in less than a week. The video would make Jenneke an instant online celebrity.[245]
  • Music Is My Hot Hot Sex – Used in advertising then reached the top of YouTube's most watched list, due perhaps to a hack.[246][247]
  • Nek Minnit – A 10 second YouTube video from New Zealand featuring skater Levi Hawkin.[248] This video inspired the term Nek Minnit which is used at the end of a sentence in place of the words Next Minute.[249] The video has received over 2 Million views and has been parodied several times on YouTube, the TV3 show The Jono Project ran a series of clips titled Food in a Nek Minnit which parodied a nightly advertisement called Food in a Minute. As a result of the video the term Nek Minnit was the most searched for word on Google in New Zealand for 2011.[250]
  • Obama Girl – A series of videos on YouTube featuring Amber Lee Ettinger that circulated during the 2008 US Presidential Election, starting with her singing, I Got a Crush... on Obama. It caught the attention of bloggers, mainstream media, other candidates, and achieved 12.5 million views on YouTube by 1 January 2009.[251]
  • The Peckham Terminator – A video filmed by two youths on 1 August 2010 of a man in his twenties screaming abuse at fellow passengers on the 37 bus at Rye Lane. The man uses racial abuse and tries to pick a fight with one passenger. The man finally smashes through the glass of the rear doors (after making a few attempts beforehand) and walks off unscathed. The youths filming the incident dub him the "Peckham Terminator", after the Arnold Schwarzenegger character.[252][253]
  • Puppy-throwing Marine viral video – A viral video from March 2008 of a US Marine on patrol in Iraq throwing a puppy off of a cliff. The video sparked outrage from numerous animal rights groups and was later removed from YouTube. The Marine was later identified as Lance Corporal David Motari, who was removed from the Marine Corps and received a non-judicial punishment. His accomplice, Sergeant Crismarvin Banez Encarnacion, received a non-judicial punishment as well.[254][255]
A Rick Astley impersonator rickrolling a basketball game
  • Rickrolling – A phenomenon involving posting a URL in an Internet forum that appears to be relevant to the topic at hand, but is, in fact, a link to a video of Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give You Up. The practice originated on 4chan as a "Duckroll", in which an image of a duck on wheels was what was linked to. The practice of Rickrolling became popular after April Fools' Day in 2008 when YouTube rigged every feature video on its home page to Rick Astley's song.[256][257]
  • Shreds – A series of mock videos, initially created by Santeri Ojala a.k.a. StSanders. The original videos show footage of famous rock guitarists and/or bands in their "shredding" moments, but feature Ojala's own purposely warped, yet precisely synchronized, guitar playing in place of the original audio.[258][259]
  • Star Wars Kid – A Québécois teenager who became known as the "Star Wars Kid" after a video appeared on the Internet showing him swinging a golf ball retriever as if it were a lightsaber. Many parodies of the video were also made and circulated.[138][260]
  • Supercuts – Videos consisting of numerous clips from movies and television typically highlighting the reuse of a common phrase or trope within each clip. Such can be specific to a show (such as highlighting every swear stated in the film The Big Lebowski), an oft-quoted line (numerous reality television show contestants saying they're not played to make friends) or as non-verbal critique of a specific medium (reuse of similar dialog lines throughout shows created by Aaron Sorkin).[261][262]
  • "This is my story" – A two-part video of 18-year old American Internet personality, Ben Breedlove, explaining about his heart condition, using note cards as a visual aid. The YouTube video was released on 18 December 2011, a week prior to Breedlove's death, and received world-wide attention.[263][264][265][266][267]
  • Twin Baby Boys Having a Conversation – A video of two 17-month-old twin boys, Sam and Ren, having a "conversation" in their own special "language" was posted to YouTube by their mother and viewed by thousands of people in the next 24 hours.[268][269]
  • "Ty kto takoy? Davay, do svidaniya!" ("Who are you? Come on, goodbye!" in Russian) – A video of Azerbaijani meykhana performers, that gained over 2 million views on YouTube.[270] The jingle "Ty kto takoy? Davay, do svidaniya!" started trending on Twitter with the Russian hashtag #путинтыктотакойдавайдосвидания[271] and a number of songs sampled the jingle since then.
  • TysonViral videos featuring a skateboarding bulldog.[272]
  • UFO Phil – A series of music videos and short films featuring cult celebrity UFO Phil, whose real name is Phil Hill. Phil is an American novelty songwriter most notable for appearing with George Noory on the radio program Coast to Coast AM.[273][274]
  • Very erotic very violent – An Internet catchphrase in the People's Republic of China, after a report by Xinwen Lianbo, the most viewed of China's state-sponsored news programs, where a young girl was reported to have come across content on the Internet which was "Very erotic, very violent". This incident sparked wide forms of parody on the Internet, and also questioned the credibility of the state broadcaster's newscasts.[275][276][277]
YouTube musicians from Lisa Lavie's online collaboration video "We Are the World 25 for Haiti (YouTube Edition)" met on the same stage for a live reunion performance ten months later in Washington, D.C.[278][279]
  • "We Are the World 25 for Haiti (YouTube Edition)" is a massively collaborative crowdsourced charity video, involving 57 geographically distributed unsigned or independent contributors, that was produced by Canadian singer-songwriter and YouTube personality Lisa Lavie to raise money for victims of the 12 January 2010 Haiti earthquake.[280] The video received repeated coverage on CNN,[280] and the video's participants were collectively named ABC News "Persons of the Week" on U.S. national television by television journalist Diane Sawyer in March 2010.[281]
  • What What (In the Butt) – A viral music video set to a song about anal sex by gay recording artist Samwell. The video was posted on Valentine's Day 2007, and two weeks later had already been viewed 500,000 times.[282] It was subsequently parodied on the South Park episode, "Canada on Strike", which poked fun at several other Internet memes and personalities.
  • Wii Fit Girl – A video entitled "Why every guy should buy their girlfriend a Wii Fit" showing 25-year-old Lauren Bernat hula hooping with the fitness video game in only her t-shirt and panties. The video was viewed more than 10 million times on YouTube by September 2010, and was suspected as being a viral marketing plot because both Bernat, and her boyfriend Giovanny Gutierrez, who filmed the footage, work in advertising. Nintendo has since denied the claim that it was a marketing plot.[283][284]
  • Winnebago Man – A series of profane video outtakes first circulated underground on VHS tape before YouTube videos turned them into an online sensation. The reclusive Rebney is the subject of a feature film, Winnebago Man.[285][286]
  • YouTube Poop – Video mashups in which users deconstruct and piece together video for psychedelic or absurdist effect.[287]
  • Zangief Kid (a.k.a. "Little Zangief") – A video clip first seen on YouTube depicting a fight in school between two students, which begins with the smaller pupil punching the taller sixteen year old boy Casey Heynes, who in turn retaliates by lifting the boy upside down and slamming him on the ground. Casey has been nicknamed "The Zangief Kid" by many Internet users as the grappling move used closely resembles the Spinning Piledriver, the signature special move of the character Zangief from the Street Fighter video game series.[288]


  • CreepypastaUrban legends or scary stories circulating on the Internet, many times revolving around specific videos or pictures. This phenomenon typically begins with a single, still image of a painting or other picture posted to YouTube and set to ominous music. The video's description contains a scary back story, such as a painting of a young girl with myopic blue eyes – was made by a teenage Japanese girl who scanned it to her computer, uploaded it to the Internet, then immediately killed herself.[289] An example of this in modern Internet cultures, or urban-legend folklore is Slender Man or Slenderman, a fakelore being created in 2009 by user Victor Surge on Something Awful, which has recently gained prominence as a frightening malevolent entity, a tall thin man wearing a suit, who lacks a face, "his" head only being blank, white and featureless.[290] Slender Man was later adapted into a video game.
  • Figwit (abbreviated from "Frodo is great...who is that?") – a background elf character with only seconds of screen time and one line of dialog from The Lord of the Rings film trilogy played by Flight of the Conchords member Bret McKenzie, which became a fascination with a large number of fans. This ultimately led to McKenzie being brought back to play an elf in The Hobbit.[291][292][293]
  • I am lonely will anyone speak to me – A thread created on MovieCodec.com's forums, which has been described as the "Web's Top Hangout for Lonely Folk" by Wired Magazine.[294]
  • Illegal flower tribute – when Google China was threatening to withdraw from the country because of disputes with the government, supporters of Google from around Beijing laid flowers at the company's headquarters in Zhongguancun. The flowers donated by previous visitors were promptly removed by the security guards, one of whom said that people needed to apply for government permits in order not to make an "illegal flower tribute".[295]
  • Miss Me Yet? – inspired a series of themed merchandise from online agencies such as CafePress.[296]
  • Vuvuzelas – The near-constant playing of the buzz-sounding vuvuzela instrument during games of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa led to numerous vuvuzela-based memes, including YouTube temporarily adding a vuvuzela effect that could be added to any video during the World Cup.[297][298]


Published:Sep 25th 2012
Modified:Sep 25th 2012

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