The end of nigh my friends, that is, at least for 2011. The last day of the year and here we are, ready and willing to accept the new year. A new year means a fresh start, another 365 days to let us try again and look over our mistakes. But enough about 2012, let’s go over the year in review, brought to you by Google.

 

So here we are my friends. The last day of 2011, so let’s start with a list of memes and cultural trends from this year.

 

Rebecca Black’s “Friday”

The Californian teenage girl Rebecca Black‘s rise to national fame with her autotuned pop single “Friday” was a moment of realization for many aspiring singers and producers: you don’t necessarily have to be the best at what you do to be famous. Originally uploaded in early February, the video began receiving massive exposure on hubsites like YouTube, Twitter and Tumblr after coverage by The Daily What on March 11th, 2011. Within a week, the video gained over 10 million views and the digital single entered the top 100 on iTunes. Following a round of Black’s news media appearances, “Friday” was endorsed by several celebrities, including Nick Jonas, Justin Bieber, Stephen Colbert and Snoop Dogg. In less than months, “Friday” garnered over 167 million views and an additional 10 million views from the reuploaded version after the original was removed from YouTube in June 2011. In mid-July, Rebecca Black released her second single “My Moment,” which also gained over 22 million views.

First World Problems

The frustrations of privileged citizens around the world has been a consistently trending topic on Twitter with #FirstWorldProblems, a hashtag used to make light of minor inconveniences that people of advanced societies often complain about, like having too many tabs open or still being hungry after brushing teeth. While the term “First World Problems” was first picked up by Urban Dictionary in August 2005, it didn’t evolve into a widespread joke until its arrival on Reddit and Twitter in January 2011.

Occupy Wall Street

Occupy Wall Street is an ongoing series of protests in New York City and elsewhere across North America and Europe that seek to resolve socioeconomic inequality and curb the influence of corporate lobbying on Washington politics. Mostly coordinated via social networking services like Twitter and Facebook without a central organizer, the flash-mob demonstration began on September 17th, 2011 and the spirit of protests have since spread across dozens of cities and campus areas in the United States.

 

Planking

The Planking craze (shown above) began in March as a Facebook meme in Australia and New Zealand and quickly spread across the world with the launch of first annual Global Planking Day on May 15th. The meme went onto trigger an enduring series of similar photo fads like Owling, Batmanning and others. While Planking has reached the largest scale of participants, similar memes had been previously reported through Lying Down Game (UK / 2010) and Playing Dead (South Korea / 2003). Planking also had a casualty in May when a 20 year old from Brisbane, Australia fell to death from a 7th story balcony while attempting the game.

 

Scumbag Steve

Scumbag Steve is an image macro series featuring a young man with a sideways fitted cap standing in a hallway. As the name suggests, the joke illustrates a wide array of “d-bag” stereotypes from high school and college years, like that guy who borrows your lighter and never returns it. In our interview with Blake Boston, the 21 year old Bostonite behind the face of Scumbag Steve, it was revealed that the picture was taken sometime in 2006 by his mother.

 

X All the Y!

“X all the Y” is a snowclone and exploitable cartoon used to make a hyperbolic statement about performing an action. First published in the comic “This is Why I’ll Never be an Adult” (shown above) by illustrator Allie Brosh, she apparently sought to convey frustration with her inability to maintain a consistent enthusiasm for her daily responsibilities.

 

Nope! Chuck Testa

Nope! Chuck Testa is a catchphrase coined by Californian taxidermist Chuck Testa and filmmakers Rhett and Link. The one-liner became immensely popular after the ad made for his business received massive attention through social news sites like Reddit in mid-September. The commercial features several family members of Testa being fooled into thinking taxidermied animals were alive before being told by the man himself who proclaims “Nope! Chuck Testa.”

 

60s Spider-Man

60’s Spider-Man is an image macro series based on still shots from the original Spider-Man cartoon series, typically featuring an absurd internal monologue that correspond with the actions depicted in the images.

 

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic And Bronyism

The epidemic sensation of My Little Pony in 2011 has been both formidable and persistent. Developed by the Powerpuff Girls illustrator Lauren Faust, the largely for-girls show has become an omnipresent fixture in the internet culture, triggering an epic internet fight between pro-bronies and anti-bronies, not to mention the moderates who think ponies are appropriate for only certain situations. Since its on-air debut in October 2010, the series became a popular source material for threadjacking, reaction images, and macro images on 4chan, YouTube and elsewhere online. Particularly on 4chan’s /b/, those who are avid fans of the ponies have come to be known as “Bronies,” while the Bronies who post ponies mainly on /co/ have come to be known as “Colts.”

I Took an Arrow in the Knee

In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the town guard non-player characters (NPCs) have several stock lines they will repeat when the player walks near them, including a bewildered statement about “curved swords”, a patronizing statement about “sweetroll” theft, and the melancholy confession “I used to be an adventurer like you, then I took an arrow in the knee.” The restating of such a specific story over and over again by so many different guards caused it to be noticed by players, who then proceeded to post about it in gaming forums and image boards. Along with the game itself, the video below helps give the idea that almost every guard in Skyrim became a guard due to the life altering results of receiving an arrow to the knee.

 

Search Interest

Out of the top ten memes that were selected, search queries for “Rebecca Black” set the highest peak in volume during its viral rise in March and April. The impact of “Friday” can be seen in sharp rise of search interest in April 2011, which was only surpassed twice this year with “Planking” in May and “Occupy Wall Street” in October.

And since today is the last day of the year, we’re going to go out with a bang. Tonight’s cast on Justin.tv (@ 7 PM PST) Will review this year according to me and the news posts we’ve had this whole year. Now I’ve been casting for a while now, if you don’t want to hear the truth, that’s fine, cause that’s all I have to offer. 2011 wasn’t the most graceful year, but it was one of the biggest years for world turning events: Steve Jobs dying, Bin Laden killed, end of the 10 year Iraq War; Just to name a few.

 

I think that’s all I’m going to put on today’s post since I will be talking most of the cast tonight, hopefully an hour or 2 about the events and things that have happened to me.

See you, in the new year; This is Grass signing out for 2011.