The Evolution of Internet Memes

Kristina Scott
Jun 10, 2018 · 4 min read

Memes. We love them. We share them until they are no longer funny and then they become so irrelevant they become funny again. With the rise of the internet and it’s increased connectivity, memes flourished. Here are some of the most famous memes ever created by year.

1.The dancing baby, 1995

One of the first internet memes, the dancing baby remains a favorite still to this day.

2. All Your Base are Belong to us, 1998

Translations are hard, but this one made everyone laugh in the late 90s.

3. The Hamster Dance, 1999

Video Credit: Kamara666

While the original website for Hampton the Hamster has been taken down, the internet has made many tributes.

4. Pancake Bunny, 2001

“I have no idea what you’re talking about, so here’s a bunny with a pancake on its head,” became the go to dismissive statement in 2001.

5. Peanut Butter Jelly Time, 2002

Video Credit:mycreed

A favorite of all 12 year olds worldwide.

6. Fail/Epic Fail, 2003

Epicfail.com has tried to keep these alive, but the internet has moved on from making fun of others….or so we like to think.

7. Numa Numa, 2004

Video Credit: Dork Daily

Named the Numa Numa guy, Gary Brolsma released this viral video in 2004.

8. Chuck Norris Facts, 2005

Ah Chuck Norris jokes…were they ever actually funny?

9. LolCats, 2006

Lolcats.com is proof that the internet was made for cats.

10. Keep Calm and Carry On, 2007

Political memes anyone?

11. Pepe the Frog, 2008

One of the most popular memes on the internet, Pepe has become a sort of internet collectible with people searching for the rarest pepe. However, he has died out a bit after people began making anti-semitic pepes.

12. Smash Mouth’s, All Star, 2009

Video Credit: Fangki Borres

Popularized by the movie “Shrek”, Smash Mouth’s song “All Star” is a meme that will go down in infamy.

13. Spooky Scary Skeletons, 2010

Video Credit: Three Ply Chord

Every fall this meme comes back usually alongside the dancing pumpkin. It’s still funny every year.

14. Nyan Cat, 2011

Video Credit: SARA JUNE

You will never get this song out of your head. Ever.

15. Grumpy cat, 2012

More proof the internet was made for cats. This lovable floof has created a whole franchise of movies and merchandise from his frown.

16. Harlem Shake, 2013

Video Credit: Wideo Leaks

The Harlem Shake was so popular even the Simpsons joined in. It enjoyed international fame in 2013.

17. Starter Packs, 2014

Perhaps the most famous of all the starter pack memes, the “can I speak to a manager” haircut has become a meme in and of itself.

18. John Cena, 2015

Video Credit: Tim Jennings

First there was the Rickroll, then there was the unexpected John Cena.

19. Harambe, 2016

The Cincinnati zoo shot Harambe after a child fell into his enclosure. The internet will never forgive them.

20. Mocking Spongebob, 2017

I was wrong…making fun of other people will never get old.

2018 has yet to give us any diamonds, but every year has one meme that defines it and we will have to wait and see what the rest of 2018 brings.

Lab Work

A Digital Journalism Project By Colorado State Students

Kristina Scott

Written by

Lab Work

Lab Work

A Digital Journalism Project By Colorado State Students

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