Elf Yourself (2006) and its related Scrooge Yourself (2007) are both interactivewebsites created by Jason Zada and Evolution Bureau for OfficeMax's holiday seasonadvertising campaign. Elf Yourself allows visitors to upload images of themselves or their friends, see them as dancing elves, and includes options to post the created video to other sites or save it as a personalized mini-film. According to ClickZ, visiting the Elf Yourself site "has become an annual tradition that people look forward to". While not selling any one specific product, the two were created to raise consumer awareness of the sponsoring firm.
FreeCreditReport.com – A series of TV commercials that were posted on the Internet; many spoofs of the commercials were made and posted on YouTube.
HeadOn – A June 2006 advertisement for a homeopathic product claimed to relieve headaches. Ads featured the tagline, "HeadOn. Apply directly to the forehead", stated three times in succession, accompanied by a video of a model using the product without ever directly stating the product's purpose. The ads were successively parodied on sites such as YouTube and rapperLil Jon even made fun of it.
"Nope, Chuck Testa" – A local commercial made for Ojai Valley Taxidermy, owned by Chuck Testa, suggesting that the stuffed creatures were alive until Testa appeared, saying "Nope, Chuck Testa!"; the ad soon went viral.
Will It Blend? – The blender product Blendtec, claimed by its creator Tom Dickson to be the most powerful blender, is featured in a series of YouTube videos, "Will It Blend?" where numerous food and non-food items are used within the blender.
Animutations – Early Flash-based animations, pioneered by Neil Cicierega in 2001, typically featuring foreign language songs (primary Japanese, such as "Yatta"), set to random pop-culture images. The form is said to have launched the use of Flash for inexpensive animations that are now more common on the Internet.
Axe Cop – Initially a web comic series with stories created by five-year-old Malachai Nicolle and drawn into comic form by his 29-year-old brother Ethan; the series gained viral popularity on the Internet due to the vividness and non sequitur nature of Malachai's imagination, and has led to physical publication and a series of animated shorts in the 2012–2013 season for the Fox Television Network.
"Caramelldansen" – A spoof from the Japanese visual novel opening Popotan that shows the two main characters doing a hip swing dance with their hands over their heads, imitating rabbit ears, while the background song plays the sped-up version of the song "Caramelldansen", sung by the Swedish music group Caramell. Also known as Caramelldansen Speedycake Remix or Uma uma dance in Japan, the song was parodied by artists and fans who then copy the animation and include characters from other anime performing the dance.
Charlie the Unicorn – A four-part series of videos involving a unicorn who is repeatedly hoodwinked by two other unnamed unicorns, colored blue and pink, who take him on elaborate adventures in order to steal his belongings or cause him physical harm.
Polandball – A user-generated Internet meme which originated on the /int/ board of German imageboard Krautchan.net in the latter half of 2009. The meme is manifested in a large number of online comics, where countries are presented as spherical personas that interact in often broken English, poking fun at national stereotypes and international relations, as well as historical conflicts.
Rage comics – A large set of pre-drawn images including crudely drawn stick figures, clip art, and other art work, typically assembled through website generators, to allow anyone to assemble a comic and post to various websites and boards; the New York Times claims thousands of these are created daily. Typically these are drawn in response to a real-life event that has angered the comic's creator, hence the term "rage comics", but comics assembled for any other purpose can also be made. Certain images from rage comics are known by specific titles, such as "trollface" (a widely grinning man), "forever alone" (a man crying to himself), or "rage guy" (a man shouting "FUUUUU...").
Salad Fingers – A Flash animation series surrounding a schizophrenic green man in a desolate world populated mostly by deformed, functionally mute people.
Weebl and Bob – A series of flash cartoons created by Jonti Picking featuring two egg-shaped characters that like pie and speak in a stylistic manner.
xkcd – A webcomic created by Randall Munroe, popularized on the Internet due to a high level of math-, science- and geek-related humor, with certain jokes being reflected in real-life, such as using Wikipedia's "" tag on real world signs or the addition of an audio preview for YouTube comments.
Challenges listed below generally feature Internet users recording themselves doing the challenge and then distributing the resulting video through social media sites, often inspiring or daring other users to repeat the challenge.
Charlie Charlie Challenge – A ouija-emulating ritual in which the spirit of a fictitious Mexican demon named "Charlie" is invoked via two pencils in the shape of a cross and the words "yes" and "no" written on paper in a square. Social media users began circulating videos of pencils moving to the word "yes" when asking if the demon is present.
Cinnamon challenge – a viral internet food challenge. The objective of the challenge is to film oneself swallowing a spoonful of ground cinnamon in under 60 seconds without drinking anything, then upload the video to the Internet. The challenge is difficult and carries substantial health risks because the cinnamon coats and dries the mouth and throat, resulting in coughing, gagging, vomiting and inhaling of cinnamon, leading to throat irritation, breathing difficulties, and risk of pneumonia or a collapsed lung.
Condom challenge – a viralinternetchallenge. The challenge involves inserting a latex condom into the nostril and snorting it into the nasal cavity and back through the throat to be coughed out of the mouth. The term "condom challenge" was coined in May 2012 following the widespread popularity of the cinnamon challenge, but the idea is several years old and videos of challenge attempts date to at least 2007. The challenge went viral in April 2013, when WorldStarHipHop posted a video of two young females attempting the challenge, and several people subsequently uploaded videos onto the internet of themselves attempting the challenge.The stunt poses potential choking hazards.
Fire challenge – an activity which refers to the application of flammable liquids to one's body and then setting the liquids aflame, while being video recorded. The aftermath is then posted to social media sites. Firefighters, police officers and media sources have chastised and spoken out against the activity, hoping to dissuade individuals from trying it due to its harmful nature.
Ice Bucket Challenge – A charity-driven effort where a person "tags" three other people over social media, challenging them either to donate $100 to the ALS Association, or to otherwise douse themselves with a bucket of ice-cold water while filming themselves as well as making a smaller donation and tagging three others with the same challenge. As the challenge propagated, it tagged various celebrities and people with large numbers of social followers, causing the challenge to grow in a viral manner.
Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge – Based on trying to recreate the puffy lips of television star Kylie Jenner, Internet users show themselves using a small vessel like a shotglass that covers their lips, drawing all the air out of the vessel, and then releasing, which temporarily puffs the lips. The activity is considered harmful, both from bruising and dis-figuration of the lips, and the potential for the vessel to shatter and cut the person.
Salt and ice challenge – internet phenomenon wherein participants pour salt on their bodies, usually on the arm and ice is then placed on the salt. This causes a "burning" sensation, and participants vie to withstand the pain for the longest time. The challenge is recorded and posted on YouTube or other forms of social media.
Bill Gates Email Beta Test – An email chain-letter that first appeared in 1997 and was still circulating as recently as 2007. The message claims that America Online and Microsoft are conducting a beta test and for each person you forward the email to, you will receive a payment from Bill Gates of more than $200. Realistic contact information for a lawyer appears in the message.
Goodtimes virus – An infamous, fraudulent virus warning that first appeared in 1994. The email claimed that an email virus with the subject line "Good Times" was spreading, which would "send your CPU into a nth-complexity infinite binary loop", among other dire predictions.
Lighthouse and naval vessel urban legend – Purportedly an actual transcript of an increasingly heated radio conversation between a U.S. Navy ship and a Canadian who insists the naval vessel change a collision course, ending in the punchline. This urban legend first appeared on the Internet in its commonly quoted format in 1995, although versions of the story predate it by several decades. It continues to circulate; the Military Officers Association of America reported in 2011 that it is forwarded to them an average of three times a day. The Navy has a page specifically devoted to pointing out that many of the ships named weren't even in service at the time.
MAKE.MONEY.FAST – One of the first spam messages that was spread primarily through Usenet, or even earlier BBS systems, in the late 1980s or early 1990s. The original email is attributed to an individual who used the name "Dave Rhodes", who may or may not have existed. The message is a classic pyramid scheme – you receive an email with a list of names and are asked to send $5 by postal mail to the person whose name is at the top of the list, add your own name to the bottom, and forward the updated list to a number of other people.
Neiman Marcus Cookie recipe – An email chain-letter dating back to the early 1990s, but originating as Xeroxlore, in which a person tells a story about being ripped off for over $200 for a cookie recipe from Neiman Marcus. The email claims the person is attempting to exact revenge by passing the recipe out for free.
Nigerian Scam/419 scam – A mail scam attempt popularized by the ability to send millions of emails. The scam claims the sender is a high-ranking official of Nigeria with knowledge of a large sum of money or equivalent goods that they cannot claim but must divest themselves of it; to do so, they claim to require a smaller sum of money up front to access the sum to send to the receiver. The nature of the scam has mutated to be from any number of countries, high-ranking persons, barristers, or relationships to said people.
Marble Hornets is a documentary-style horror, suspense short film series based on alternate reality experiences of the Slenderman tale. Marble Hornets was instrumental in codifying parts of the Slender Man mythos, but is not part of the intercontinuity crossover that includes many of the blogs and vlogs that followed it, although MH does feature in other canons as either a chronicle of real events or a fictional series.
Re-cut/Mashup Movie Trailers – User-made trailers for established films, using scenes, voice-overs, and music, to alter the appearance of the film's true genre or meaning or to create a new, apparently seamless, film. Examples include casting the thriller-drama The Shining into a romantic comedy, or using footage from the respective films to create Robocop vs. Terminator.
RedLetterMedia/Mr. Plinkett Reviews – Independent filmmaker Mike Stoklasa's long, in-depth critical reviews of the Star Wars prequel trilogy and several other large budget films, re-enacted under his crotchety "Mr. Plinkett" persona, became highly popular through word-of-mouth on the Internet.
Sharknado (2013) – A made-for-television film produced by The Asylum and aired on the SyFy network as a mockbuster of other disaster films, centered on the appearance of a tornado filled with sharks in downtown Los Angeles. Though similar to other films from the Asylum, the combination of elements within the film, such as low-budget specific effects and choice of actors, led to the film becoming a social media hit and leading to at least two additional sequels.
Snakes on a Plane – Attracted attention a year before its planned release, and before any promotional material was released, due to the film's working title, its seemingly absurd premise, and the piquing of actor Samuel L. Jackson's interest to work on the film. Producers of the film responded to the Internet buzz by adding several scenes and dialogue imagined by the fans.
The Room (2003) – Written, produced, directed, and starring Tommy Wiseau, the low budget independent film is considered one of the worst films ever made, but through social media and interest from comedians, gained a large number of fans of movie while further becoming a popular source for memes based on some of the poorly delivered lines in the movie, such as "You're tearing me apart, Lisa!"
Flappy Bird – a free-to-playcasualmobile game released on the iOS App Store on 24 May 2013, and on Google Play on 30 January 2014, by indie mobile app developer Dong Nguyen. The game began rapidly rising in popularity in late-December 2013 to January 2014 with up to 50 million downloads by 5 February. On 9 February, Nguyen removed the game from the mobile app stores citing negative effects of the game's success on his health and its addictiveness to players. Following the game's removal from the app stores, numerous clones and derivatives of the game were released with varying similarities to the original game.
I Love Bees – An alternate reality game that was spread virally after a one second mention inside a Halo 2 advertisement. Purported to be a website about Honey Bees that was infected and damaged by a strange Artificial Intelligence, done in a disjointed, chaotic style resembling a crashing computer. At its height, over 500,000 people were checking the website every time it updated.
"I Took An Arrow in the Knee" – Non-player characters in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim repeat the line: "I used to be an adventurer like you, then I took an arrow in the knee". The latter part of this phrase quickly took off as a meme in the form of "I used to X, but then I took an arrow in the knee" with numerous image macros and video parodies created, and soon became overused and considered an annoyance; it was mentioned in an episode of NCIS.
Leeroy Jenkins – A World of Warcraft player charges into a high-level dungeon with a distinctive cry of "Leeeeeeeerooooy... Jeeenkins!", ruining the meticulous attack plans of his group and getting them all killed.
Let's Play – Videos created by video game players that add their commentary and typically humorous reactions atop them playing through a video game. These videos have created a number of Internet celebrities who have made significant money through ad revenue sharing, such as PewDiePie who has earned over $12 million from his videos in 2015.
Line Rider – A Flash game where the player draws lines that act as ramps and hills for a small rider on a sled.
Portal/Portal 2 – The popular video games Portal and its sequel, both written with black humor undertones, introduced several Internet memes, including the phrase "the cake is a lie", and the space-obsessed "Space Core" character.
QWOP – A browser based game requiring the player to control a sprint runner by using the Q, W, O, and P keys to control the runner's limbs. The game is notoriously difficult to control, typically leaving the runner character flailing about. The concept developed into memes based on the game, as well as describing real-life mishaps as attributable to QWOP.
Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon – A trivia/parlor game based around linking an actor to Kevin Bacon through a chain of co-starring actors in films, television, and other productions, with the hypothesis that no actor was more than six connections away from Bacon, similar to the theory of six degrees of separation or the Erdős number in mathematics. The game was created in 1994, just at the start of the wider spread of Internet use, populated further with the creation of movie database sites like IMDb, and since has become a board game and contributed towards the field of network science.
Surgeon Simulator 2013 – An absurd, unrealistic surgical simulation game with game play consisting of the player attempting to perform various surgical procedures, either in an operating room or an ambulance, using difficult controls similar to those of the game QWOP. Initially created by Bossa Studios in a 48-hour period for the 2013 Global Game Jam and released in January 2013, the game was further developed and later released as a full version via Steam in April 2013.
Twitch Plays Pokémon – An "experiment" and channel created by an anonymous user on the Twitch live streaming video site in February 2014. Logged-in viewers to the channel can enter commands corresponding to the physical inputs used in the JRPG video game Pokémon Red into the chat window, which are collected and parsed by a chat software robot that uses the commands to control the main character in the game, which is then live-streamed from the channel. The stream attracted more than 80,000 simultaneous players with over 10 million views with a week of going live, creating a chaotic series of movements and actions within the game and a number of original memes and derivative fan art. The combination has been called an entertainment hybrid of "a video game, live video and a participatory experience," which has inspired similar versions for other games.
Baby mugging and Baby suiting – MommyShorts blogger Ilana Wiles began posting pictures of babies in mugs, and later adult business suits, both of which led to numerous others doing the same.
Blue waffle – An internet hoax originating in 2010 purporting an unknown sexually transmitted disease affecting only women, causing severe infection and blue discoloration to the vagina. The disease has been confirmed as false.
#BreakTheInternet – The November 2014 issue of Paper included a cover image of Kim Kardashian in a partially nude pose, exposing her buttocks, taken by photographer Jean-Paul Goude, with the caption "#breaktheinternet", as the magazine desired to set a record in social media response from it. Several other photos from the shot were also released, including one that mimicked one that Goude took for his book Jungle Fever involving a "campaign incident". Paper's campaign set a record for hits for their site, and the photographs became part of Internet memes.
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.
Dog shaming – Originating on Tumblr, these images feature images of dogs photographed with signs explaining what antics they recently got up to.
Doge – Images of dogs, typically of the Shiba Inus, overlaid with simple but poor grammatical expressions, typically in the Comic Sans MS font, though have since been applied to any picture as a form of commentary.
The Dress – An image of a dress posted to Tumblr that, due to how the photograph was taken, created an optical illusion where the dress would either appear white and gold, or blue and black. Within 48 hours, the post gained over 400,000 notes and was later featured on many different websites.
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 led to a botched, amateurish, monkey-looking image, leading to several image-based memes.
Grumpy Cat – A cat named Tardar Sauce that appears to have a permanent scowl on her face due to feline dwarfism, according to its owner. Pictures of the cat circulated the Internet, leading it to win the 2013 Webby for Meme of the Year, and her popularity has led to star in a feature film.
"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.
Success Kid – An image of a baby who is clenching his fist while featuring a determined look on his face.
Tron Guy – Jay Maynard, a computer consultant, 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.
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.
"Bed Intruder Song" – A remix by the Gregory Brothers of a televised news interview of Antoine Dodson, the brother of a victim of a home invasion and attempted assault. The music video became a mainstream success, reaching the Billboard Hot 100, and became the most watched YouTube video of 2010.
"Chocolate Rain" – A song and music video written and performed by Tay Zonday (also known as Adam Nyerere Bahner). After being posted on YouTube on 22 April 2007, the song quickly became a popular viral video. By December 2009, the video had received over 40 million views.
Ekrem Jevrić, immigrant construction worker and cab driver from New York City. In 2010 he recorded video spot "Kuća poso" (House, work), a video detailing the hard life of immigrants, which became an instant hit across former Yugoslavia.
"The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)" – A song and associated video by the Norwegian comedy duo Ylvis prepared for their upcoming television show. The song's verses note the noises other animals make, but in the chorus, ask what noise a fox makes, at which point the song offers nonsense phrases like "gering-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding!" and "fraka-kaka-kaka-kaka-kow!", while the video takes a similarly funny turn. The video saw over 43 million hits within a few weeks of its release, topping music charts, and leading to Ylvis being signed for more music by Warner Bros. Records.
"Friday" – A music video sung by 13-year-old Rebecca Black, partially funded by her mother, which received over 200 million views on YouTube and spread in popularity through social media services.
"Gangnam Style" – A song and music video by South Korean rapper, Psy, showing him doing an "invisible horse dance" and saying the catchphrase "Oppan Gangnam Style" across a number of odd locations, leading to its viral spread as well as the single's reaching international music charts. The video has since become the most watched video on YouTube as of November 2012.
"Gwiyomi" – A K-pop single by the South Korean indie musician Hari. The song was released on 18 February 2013 and is based on an Internet meme known as the Gwiyomi Player, which was invented in October 2012 by the K-pop idol Jung Il Hoon and has inspired many similar versions uploaded onto the Internet by Asian netizens.
"Hello" – Adele's song released in October 2015 was a major digital commercial success being the first song to sell 1 million units within a week of its release. Its video, which primarily features Adele's singing her song through a telephone conversation, led to numerous mashups with other songs, including Lionel Richie's song of the same name which had a similar theme to its video.
"Hotline Bling" – A song and video by Drake released in October 2015; the video primarily consists of Drake dancing with female performers against brightly-lit backgrounds. Drake's dance style was considered "goofy" and like that "of a total fool", leading to Internet users either resampling the video against other songs they felt more fitting, or themselves recreating the dance moves.
"Lazy Sunday" – A 2005 Saturday Night Live sketch written and performed by Andy Samburg and Chris Parnell in which the two engage in a hip-hop song about their plans for a lazy Sunday afternoon. The song was uploaded by fans to YouTube, at that time a relative small, new site, and had been watched by millions of users before it was taken down as a copyright violation by NBC. This created the idea of being able to provide reuse of television material on the Internet, giving shows a second life, and is stated to have established YouTube as a potential revnue source for television networks, contributing towards Google's purchase of the site for $1.6 billion in 2006.
Literal music video – Covers of music videos where the original lyrics have been replaced with ones that literally describe the events that occur in the video, typically disconnected with the original lyrics of the song.
Mandatory Fun #8days8videos campaign – A viral marketing campaign by comedy singer/songwriter "Weird Al" Yankovic to promote his 2014 album Mandatory Fun by releasing eight videos for the new album over eight consecutive days across different streaming providers. The Internet-aided approach was considered very successful, leading to the album to become Yankovic's first number one hit in his 32-year career and became the first comedy album to hit Number 1 on the Billboard charts in over 50 years.
"Pop Culture" – A 2011 YouTube video of a live mash-up by the musician Hugo Pierre Leclercq aka "Madeon", aged 17 at the time, using a Novation touchpad to mix samples from 39 different songs. The video went viral within a few days of being posted, and led to Leclercq's fame in the electronica music genre.
"United Breaks Guitars" – A video by the band Sons of Maxwell, recounting how United Airlines broke a guitar belonging to band member Dave Carroll. The video reached 11 million views, was named one of the top ten of 2009, and created speculation that it had caused a $180 million drop in the airline's stock value.
2 Girls 1 Cup – Videos of two girls engaging in coprophilia. This video has also originated a series of amateur videos showing the reactions of people seeing the original video.
11B-X-1371 – An unsettling video of unknown origin, filmed in an abandoned Polish sanatorium, in which someone wearing a plague doctor costume gesticulates toward coded messages making threats against the U.S. President. Further less specific threats and disturbing images were found hidden in the spectogram of the video's soundtrack.
Ain't Nobody Got Time for That – A news interview with Kimberly "Sweet Brown" Wilkins, of Oklahoma City, in April 2012. Wilkins was asked about her escape from her burning apartment complex; she concluded the conversation by remarking "I got bronchitis! Ain't nobody got time for that!" The phrase has been reprinted on various forms of merchandise, while Wilkins appeared on television programs. Jimmy Kimmel later made a parody starring Queen Latifah as Wilkins inspiring people across history with phrases from the video. Wilkins herself appears in a cameo.
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-edit 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 United 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.
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.
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. Harding compiled two similar videos in 2008 and 2012.
Double Rainbow – a video posted to YouTube by Paul Vasquez of him filming a double rainbow Yosemite National Park. Vasquez's amazed and overwhelmed response includes philosophical questions about the rainbows, such as "what do they mean?". Subsequently, the video went viral, and an auto-tuned remix named the "Double Rainbow Song" using the video's audio track was later released by the Gregory Brothers, receiving more than 30 million views and becoming another meme.
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 film 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. 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 Chipmunk – A 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.
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.
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. Within a week of the video's posting on YouTube, there were over 700,000 hits.
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.
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.
Fuck her right in the pussy – The act of shouting the eponymous phrase in public, typically whilst videobombing live news broadcasts. The phrase was popularized by a series of fictitious videos allegedly depicting incidents involving it on live newscasts. In May 2015, a company terminated the employment of a man who shouted the phrase during a live interview conducted by CityNews reporter Shauna Hunt
Gallon smashing – The act of smashing a gallon of liquid in a manner that appears to be accidental. The prank often involves throwing a gallon of milk onto a grocery store aisle, then falling and sometimes having difficulty returning to a standing position.
Harlem Shake – A video based on Harlem shake dance, originally created by vlogger Filthy Frank and using an electronica version of the song by Baauer. In such videos, one person is dancing or acting strange among a room full of others going about routine business, until after the drop and a video cut, everyone starts dancing or acting strangely. The attempts to recreate the dance has led to a viral spread on YouTube.
Kony 2012 – An 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".
An example of the anime-style moe images of Natalia Poklonskaya following her press conference
"Let's Play" videos – A format popularized by the website Something Awful, "Let's Play" feature a video game player playing through a game using video capturing devices and providing ongoing humorous commentary as they play. Such videos have expanded via the introduction of YouTube and streaming video sites, and have been seen as promotional for the games that are played. The format been proven highly successful for both some games like Five Nights at Freddy's, and for certain people, such as Felix Kjellberg (known as PewDiePie) who has over 28 million YouTube subscribers and earning more than $4 million from ad revenue sharing in 2013.
Mélissa Theuriau – A French journalist and news anchor for M6. She became an Internet phenomenon after a compilation video, entitled "Beautiful News Reporter", was posted online. She was voted by Maxim readers as "TV's sexiest news anchor" in 2007.
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 pre-race warm-up at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona. The video of Jenneke dancing pre-race was uploaded on 25 July on YouTube and had more than 13 million views in less than a week. The video made Jenneke an instant online celebrity.
Natalia Poklonskaya – Shortly after Natalia Poklonskaya was appointed a Prosecutor General of the Republic of Crimea a video of Poklonskaya during a press conference went viral on YouTube and spawned an onslaught of anime-style fanart dedicated to her which garnered international media attention.
Nek Minnit – A 10-second YouTube video from New Zealand featuring skater Levi Hawkin. This video inspired the term Nek Minnit, which is used at the end of a sentence in place of the words Next Minute. The video has received over two 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.
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.
"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.
"Too Many Cooks" – A 2014 short produced by Adult Swim that parodies the openings of many 1980s and 1990s American television shows with both meta and dark humor. Originally only played on Cartoon Network in place of early morning infomercials, the short soon gained attraction via social media.
"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. The jingle "Ty kto takoy? Davay, do svidaniya!" started trending on Twitter with the Russian hashtag #путинтыктотакойдавайдосвидания and a number of songs sampled the jingle since then.
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.
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.
Xtranormal – A website allowing users to create videos by scripting the dialog and choosing from a menu of camera angles and predesigned CGI characters and scenes. Though originally designed to be used to ease storyboard development for filmmakers, the site quickly became popular after videos made with the tool, including "iPhone 4 vs HTC Evo", became viral.
Creepypasta – urban legends or scary stories circulating on the Internet, many times revolving around specific videos, pictures or video games. The term "creepypasta" is a mutation of the term "copypasta": a short, readily available piece of text that is easily copied and pasted into a text field. "Copypasta" is derived from "copy/paste", and in its original sense commonly referred to presumably initially sincere text (e.g. a blog or forum post) perceived by the copy/paster as undesirable or otherwise preposterous, which was then copied and pasted to other sites as a form of trolling.
DashCon Ball Pit – A convention held in July 2014 by users of Tumblr that "imploded" due to a number of financial difficulties and low turnout. During the convention, a portable ball pit was brought into a large empty room, and for some premium panels that were cancelled, the attendees were offered an extra hour in the ball pit as compensation. The implosion and absurdity of aspects like the ball pit quickly spread through social media.
Dogecoin – A form of cryptocurrency created as a parody of bitcoin, after the popularity of the Doge meme, it has since become a currency of actual value, with an estimated total of $65 million in circulation and used for legitimate real-world purchases.
Horse ebooks / Pronunciation Book – A five-year-long viral marketing alternate reality game for a larger art project developed by Synydyne. "Horse_ebooks" was a Twitter account that seemed to promote e-books, while "Pronunciation Book" was a YouTube channel that provided ways to pronounce English words. Both accounts engaged in non-sequiturs, making some believe that the accounts were run by automated services. Pronunciation Book shifted to pronouncing numerals in a countdown fashion in mid-2013, concluding in late September 2013 revealing the connection to Horse_ebook and identity of Synydyne behind the accounts, and the introduction of their next art project.
Namewasters (or name wasters) – A slang term that describes a user on a website who abandons an account shortly after its creation. The term originated on YouTube, and, before 2012, there were thousands of active YouTubers who would post flaming comments on the wasted channels, and sometimes also subscribing to them. The phenomenon mostly faded away after 2012, because of YouTube's mass deletion of wasted accounts that year.
One red paperclip – The story of a Canadian blogger who bartered his way from a red paperclip to a house in a year's time.
SCP Foundation is a creative writing website that contains thousands of fictitious containment procedures for paranormal objects captured by the in-universe SCP Foundation, a secret organization tasked with securing and documenting objects that violate natural law. The website has inspired numerous spin-off works, including a stage play and video games such as SCP – Containment Breach.
Slender Man or Slenderman is a creepypasta meme and urban-legend fakelore tale created on 8 June 2009 by user Victor Surge on Something Awful as part of a contest to edit photographs to contain "supernatural" entities and then pass them off as legitimate on paranormal forums. The Slender Man gained prominence as a frightening malevolent entity: a tall thin man wearing a suit and lacking a face with "his" head only being blank, white, and featureless. After the initial creation, numerous stories and videos were created by fans of the character. Slender Man was later adapted into a video game in 2012 and became more widely known.
There Are No Girls On the Internet, a 2010 meme
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.