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The decade in memes

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Picture this.It's 2010. TikTok is simply a song by Ke$ha, you're playing Flappy Bird on an iPhone 3gs, and One Direction have only just formed.Oh, and there aren't hundreds of new memes circulating the internet everyday.Fast-forward a decade and it's impossible to count the number of internet inside-jokes being shared daily.As the decade comes to a close, we've done our best to round up some of the most iconic memes the internet has brought us over the past 10 years.
2010: YouTube
There's no denying that 2010 was a strange year. There weren't *really* memes as we know them today - but there were viral internet sensations. One of those was a lady named Elonia - whose YouTube video singing "sitting on the toilet", while she's sitting on the toilet - currently has more than 9m views.
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"And flush" - what a finale.The video sets a pretty standard precedent for early 2010 memes. They were simple, poorly-produced and lacked intellectual depth.But, there's no denying Elonia's song has been buried somewhere in our minds for 10 years, so fair play.
2011: Classic meme format
In 2011 pictures with basic text captions on them emerged. One of the early examples was a Futurama screenshot, with memes that followed the template: "not sure if ___, or just ___". Looking back now, it's surprising that we ever found these funny.
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Ok ————————————————————————#meme #funnymemes #funnymeme #relatable #funny #memes #memesdaily #memes? #me #futurama #futuramamemes #futuramameme #ok #okay #troll #notsure A post shared by Penguin (@themightymememachine) on Feb 27, 2019 at 10:52pm PST
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2012: Overly attached girlfriend
There was no escaping the simple picture and block text format in 2012, where the Overly Attached Girlfriend meme was born. It came from a YouTube video by Laina Morris, in which she sings Boyfriend by Justin Bieber but changes the lyrics to fit the character of a crazy, possessive girlfriend. Her character must have been pretty strong - it got millions of views and her creepy smile was meme-fied.
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One more "Overly Attached Girlfriend", funny. pic.twitter.com/vOUk67nN— Zovya RPG Maps (@Zovya) June 8, 2012
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Up until a few months ago, Laina Morris was still regularly doing videos in the Overly Attached Girlfriend character.
2013: Chloe and Gavin
When we were putting together this list, 2013 stood out for its contribution to memes. It was when two children, Gavin and Chloe, were introduced to the meme-sphere - and they've stood the test of time. Chloe's disturbed expression proved to be very relatable:
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When someone you don't like sits next to you... pic.twitter.com/O5uPWEFLjm— LADHumour (@LadHumour) November 3, 2013
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And Gavin's often confused, disgruntled facial expressions saturated the internet in 2013 and - to be honest - have done ever since.
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Every mom on Christmas while you're opening up that gift they swore they weren't getting you pic.twitter.com/mwIqwsOrMk— Common White Girl (@GirlsNoteBook) November 15, 2016
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He truly is the "internet's son".
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me trying to act normal around my friends but I start thinking about outer space and my own existence pic.twitter.com/T0mTYtnsrD— will (@w_butz) March 17, 2016
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2014: 'But that's none of my business'
The meme that dominated 2014 was an image of Kermit the frog drinking iced tea - and minding his business. See if you can figure out how it was used:
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Some of y'all got college degrees and still mistake there, their & they're...but that's none of my business pic.twitter.com/krC3235Qxv— Hater (@Hater164) June 18, 2014
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You also couldn't scroll for long without seeing "starter packs".Nobody was safe from having their entire personality and style ripped to shreds by one of these picture grids.
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The "you can beat me up but my dad will sue" Starter Pack pic.twitter.com/6l6a6iNInZ— Starter Packs (@Starting_Pack) November 17, 2014
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The "Year 6 boy at a school disco" starter pack. pic.twitter.com/cix48Q5dUY— Sunday League Footy (@SundayChants) November 17, 2014
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They were simple, but fantastic banter. Another special mention has to go to this iconic photo. The streets will never forget.
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When you're a vegan and haven't told anyone in 8 minutes pic.twitter.com/3BiosOPAAv— FunnyPicsDepot (@FunnyPicsDepot) December 13, 2015
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Amazingly, the veiny guy apparently went to school with the Overly Attached Girlfriend. If nothing else, they definitely once met.
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Overly Attached Girlfriend and Vein popping Michael both went to Northwest HS...and took this picture. pic.twitter.com/mrSrF7u9GU— DucksOutForHarambe (@John_Maghirang) January 28, 2016
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Incredible effort from both of them there.
2015: Why you always lyin'[/img]
But this wasn't any old singing video. Nicholas featured his own lyrics, about liars, and made a dance to go with it. It went viral. It was also the year that Drake released Hotline Bling and his dance moves in the music video were as memorable as the catchy chorus. People added their own twists to the video...
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The decade in memes

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Wii Music pic.twitter.com/NOD2gqT1cz— Drake Dancing (@DrakeDancingTo) October 28, 2015
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2016: Meme sophistication
The word "meme" was being searched for a lot on Google in 2016.
Arguably, by then, the days of stock images with bold white text were pretty much gone - memes had become much more nuanced.One that was particularly popular was "Arthur's clenched fist".
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"harambe was just a gorilla" #arthursfist #arthurmemes pic.twitter.com/QTeQQfJgOP— arthur (@ARTHURMEMES_) July 28, 2016
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Like most memes, it got entirely out of hand and even ended up being made into embroidery.
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Spent about 15 hours stitching this feminist art meme ? pic.twitter.com/evK0s3R6ke— Hanecdote (@Hanecdote) October 1, 2016
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2016 was also the year that "Damn Daniel" was born.It was a great example of how to support your friends - and also make them Twitter famous.
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Damn Daniel pic.twitter.com/Va10hmpePO— J O S H (@Josholzz) February 16, 2016
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Daniel, his friend, and his white Vans were invited on to The Ellen DeGeneres show, and were even mentioned in a Jay-Z lyric.
2017: Blinking guy & Distracted boyfriend
2017 was as busy as ever, with far too many memes to mention them all. But a special shoutout goes to Blinking Man. You know it well - the simple gif of a man doing a surprised, double-take blink.
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me: ill take a biology class, im smart enough for this just watch me
teacher: cells
me: pic.twitter.com/fHJJsPLioO— INIRO ? (@eskbl) February 5, 2017
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When you laying in your coffin at your funeral dead and you don't hear your man crying pic.twitter.com/FJYNmmj8Pt— White Guy Blinking (@GuyBlinkingMeme) March 28, 2017
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Stock image memes made a resurgence in 2017, with Distracted Boyfriend impossible to escape.It tackled ancient history...
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this gotta be my favorite one pic.twitter.com/taKvVWliXc— ann (@sherlockohlmes) August 25, 2017
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... primary school memories....
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pic.twitter.com/pevaVQPw2l— hanny (@dorkusmalorkus_) August 24, 2017
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and grammar dilemmas...
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pic.twitter.com/wWF7VHykn5— Penguin Random House ??? (@penguinrandom) August 29, 2017
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It was also the year Radio 1 Newsbeat (that's us) did a documentary all about the joy of memes.
2018: Kids running memes again
One of last year's biggest stars was Mason Ramsey. Or - as you might know him - the kid who yodelled in a Walmart store.
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am i the only one that’s seeing this video? this kid in walmart is insane pic.twitter.com/lZYF8iBNtH— kalynn (@kalynnkoury) December 11, 2019
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The video of Mason went viral.
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twitter listening to the walmart yodel boy pic.twitter.com/gROdvC9Qck— ?Jordan Yogurt (@jordan_yogurt) April 5, 2018
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me when im at walmart and hear the yodeling boy start singing from the other side of the store pic.twitter.com/GGMagGEFlF— april (@aprillambcrt) April 2, 2018
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Mason definitely made the most of his sudden fame. He released a follow-up single, appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, performed at Coachella festival and even featured on Lil Nas X's Old Town Road remix.But it wasn't just Mason putting kids on the map in 2018. At some point during all of this ASMR - people trying to trigger a tingly feeling with whispery noises - happened. YouTuber LifewithMaK managed to crossover into memes.
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Me on my lunch break watching my coworkers struggle because it got busy pic.twitter.com/WypvWwaFb9— abolish.ice@gmail (@fagtwigs) August 10, 2018
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*Direct deposit hits*
My bills: pic.twitter.com/tKaUZ7eD6C— ? Heauxs get cold?? (@saddthot) September 19, 2018
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2019: Sorry to this man
You've made it to 2019 - congrats. Or, if you're a Facebook user, you might still be in 2018. Nowadays memes often start on Reddit before making their way to Twitter, then Instagram, WhatsApp and finally Facebook. Oh, and their shelf life has massively decreased. Hundreds are churned out every day, unlike the start of the decade when they'd be recycled for months on end. They're often still self-deprecating and observational, but are simply better - and faster - produced than in earlier years. That's why we think 2019 was the best year for memes.Actress Keke Palmer gave us one of the year's best reaction videos when she was shown a picture of former Vice President Dick Cheney.
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When someone asks me about the guy I called “the love of my life” two weeks ago. pic.twitter.com/ozpiYoGhlI— FamousJulius2020 (@TatyanaJenene) September 14, 2019
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Drew Barrymore in 50 first dates: pic.twitter.com/EwCwZs4eTO— EMBEZZLE?!? (@foreverignorant) September 14, 2019
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Next up: Jasmine Masters and her infamous "and I oop".No idea what that is? 1. Have you been living under a rock? 2. Let the video do the talking.
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And I oop- pic.twitter.com/DgJ9sRLQwe— Reaction Videos (@ReactionVideos_) April 14, 2019
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The moment (when drag queen Jasmine hits her genitals by accident) has been used for Titanic memes...
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Rose: “I’ll never let go”

Rose: *lets go 5 minutes later*

Jack: pic.twitter.com/DczanFbduk— AIWFCIY So So Def Remix stan (@extrapettychris) March 27, 2019
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...to classical memes.
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Ancient Greeks after accidentally looking at Medusa pic.twitter.com/oKlv1Lt9Xx— ??KANSAS DAY QUAD?? (@quaddiequad) March 17, 2019
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Obviously, we can't recap the year without mentioning Kombucha Girl.Brittany Tomlinson's video has more than 40 million views on TikTok.
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“Do you want another shot”

Me 7 shots deep already: pic.twitter.com/VdypLzWhJF— fabiola? (@fabee__) August 13, 2019
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Me acquiring the taste for beer over the course of like 10 years pic.twitter.com/lR6k9ZTEUJ— New Year, New Dad (@BigTucsonDad) August 11, 2019
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Something else we've seen a lot of in 2019 is No Context accounts. Undoubtedly the best was boxing promoter Eddie Hearn. Here are just a few of our favourites:
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Watching 2007-08 Fernando Torres https://t.co/fCsofWrR9y— Liam Grimshaw ? (@LFCLiamGrimshaw) September 11, 2019
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Mum: “You can’t eat that, it’s for Christmas,” https://t.co/VOx658id2r— Rigden (@MeganRigden) December 15, 2019
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Me: Well, it's 3am, I should really put my phone down and go to sleep.

Youtube: Top ten bizarre scuba diving encounters?

Me: https://t.co/6FYiCVJToY— Danny Priestley (@DannyPriestley) October 9, 2019
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They even got pretty meta, with memes being referenced within other memes.
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The SUN: Can you please share intimate details about @ColeenRoo's personal life

Rebekah Vardy: No

The SUN: There's a packet of digestives in it for you?

Rebekah Vardy: https://t.co/hZ1uhrmcO0— Edd Cornforth (@eddcornforth) October 9, 2019
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The final special mention of 2019 goes to Nicole - one of the most simple but effective memes of the year.
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5 year old me when my mum asked me how I got 7 from 2+3 pic.twitter.com/eagQxbemRX— AJ. (@JimsJones__) September 18, 2019
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Me:

The white woman sitting next to me on the train looking at my phone: pic.twitter.com/TxoJa4uUK9— dangerously wholesome (@AmariBailey) September 18, 2019
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It's been the decade when memes as we know them were born, and they've only got more creative and plentiful. Here's to more great memes in the next decade.
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