Invented at my alma mater, UCLA, the internet has become indispensable to daily life over the last few decades. It has significantly dramatically improved workplace efficiency and has opened up unbridled access to information. It has also introduced an unprecedented level of social connectedness people have never experienced before. Just over the past ten years, we have seen a myriad of content and cultural transformations, all of which exploited human nature and the viral nature of 21st century social networks. I’ve never really been the type to closely follow or participate in any of these viral, internet trends, but as someone relatively active on social media, I’ve seen a bunch of these come and go.
Some of the internet phenomenons I remember from back in the day/are still happening are: (I’m definitely gonna miss 90% of them):
- Video Content: Vine, Tiktok, Snapchat/IG stories
- Image Content: pretty much just all the troll ass memes
- Dead social media platforms: Tumblr, Yikyak, Yo, marco polo, 4chan, myspace, too many to list
Overall, the internet culture is constantly in flux. A video or style of meme people rave about one week can quickly become old news the next, but I guess that is just a reflection of people’s dwindling attention spans coupled with the creative flexibility cell phones and social media platforms provide today. I feel like the older I get, the more distant I become to the most recent memes and artsy/edgy influencers. There are not enough hours in the day to keep up with all this content. However, the fact that content is always changing and growing is interesting. For one, it has allowed younger generations to develop a sense of identity, but also, the sheer potential of distribution has given smaller communities a chance to establish themselves online and connect with people of similar backgrounds and interests. Platforms like Twitter and Reddit are great examples of how many pockets of the world can find their place in society.
Cover photo: my buddy’s halloween costume last year