The Decade of Memes

Top Ten Memes of the Decade


This past decade brought about a wave of popularity circulating meme culture. Not only are they humorous, but they also allow people to express themselves through pictures. Our generation wants to feel connected and understood, so we create and share memes to find people who relate to us. People can connect internationally through these pictures since anyone anywhere can see memes that go viral. 

Here is a collection of the top ten viral memes this past decade:

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  • In 2010, someone posted this picture of Pikachu as a response to something that surprised her, matching Pikachu’s face. Her post went viral, prompting others to recreate their own memes and causing this face to be seen all over the media.

  • Nyan Cat grew popularity after a Japanese Pop song used the animated cartoon cat, with a pop tart for a body, flying through the sky and leaving a rainbow trail. It ranked number 5 on the most viewed videos in 2011.

  • Tartar Sauce, aka Grumpy Cat, is known for her “grumpy face” and her pictures gained popularity across multiple media platforms. Grumpy Cat rose to fame due to her constant cute yet “grumpy” face and all ages still use the meme.

  • Kabosu, aka as Doge, is known for his humorous faces and captions that gained popularity in 2013. People fell in love with the dog’s comments and quickly went viral. People use this meme with to express emotions and match his facial expressions.

  • Pharrell Williams wore a noticeable hat to the Grammy Awards in 2014, which sparked a lot of media attention and resulted in a string of memes. He had worn it several times before as a staple piece in his fashion collection, but it went relatively unnoticed until the Grammy Awards. The Internet poked fun at it and started to find pictures of cartoon characters in ridiculous hats to match up next to him.

  • This meme became an internet sensation when during the Super Bowl halftime show, a dancer, Left Shark, made up random dance moves rather than following the choreography. Viewers noticed that one shark wasn’t in sync with the other’s dance moves and this meme became popular all over the internet.

  • Muppets Most Wanted came out in 2014 and two years later a meme began circulating, portraying a scene from the movie. It shows “good Kermit” and “bad Kermit” and people use it to express the mental image associated with the dumb decisions they make.

  • The “Roll Safe” meme depicts actor Kayode Ewumi pointing to his temple and grinning, portraying Reece Simpson (aka “Roll Safe”), who is a parody of urban-culture documentaries This meme rose to fame from Vine and gained more popularity after Vine died.

  • The Tide Pods meme stemmed from a recent trend where the detergent was eaten as a challenge, sickening many Americans. This gained so much popularity since people were amused by the stupidity of those who consumed them. Eventually, even news stations covered the effects of this dangerous ‘trend’ which further boosted its popularity.

  • The phrase “Ok Boomer” represents the ending of civil ties between two generations; Generation Z and Boomers. The younger generation uses this phrase as an insult against Boomers and it is growing in popularity since it’s coverage by the New York Times.

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Overall, memes are something that has defined the decade and had an important role in social media. Not only do they give people a good laugh, but they also enable people to express themselves through pictures. Even though the decade of memes has ended, the flow of memes will continue in this one as well.