A Decade on The Internet: 2010 – 2019

As we near the end of 2019, we’re also nearing the end of the decade. A lot, and I mean a LOT has happened – things that will go down in history! Take for example, Donald Trump becoming The President of the United States or the Game of Thrones finale.

So much happened that some things may have fallen off the radar since 2011 – like do you remember when the world was supposed to end in 2012? Or the time we argued about a blue and black dress for weeks and weeks in 2015?

The past five years especially have been particularly wild, luckily for you us lovely people at Digital Media Team have rounded up the most iconic moments of the past decade and the memes and internet sensations that came along with them. 

September 2010: Lady Gaga’s iconic meat dress at the VMA’s. 

Gaga had always been one to watch when it comes to her fashion – the 2010 Video Music Awards was no exception. Absolutely nobody could have anticipated her turning up in a in a dress made of entirely raw beef and accepting the award for Video of The Year though. Quickly dubbed “the meat dress”, it was an instant classic although not one you’d opt in for your Christmas party. It went viral almost instantly and we’re talking about it ten years later. It earned her a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and being named by TIME as the top fashion statement of the year.  

March 2011: Rebecca Black’s “Friday” was released.

Yes, it really has been that long. Her song “Friday” quickly went viral and there were hoards of teenagers doing the dolphin hand-thing round the corridors of their schools all round the world. If you don’t remember it, it’s probably for good reason. The video was her and her friends seemingly singing and dancing in a car that none of them were old enough to drive singing about their deep adoration for Friday’s. Who could forget iconic lyrics such as “gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal.” Groundbreaking.

May 2011: Everyone was planking for social media – for absolutely no reason.

Did you ever walk the shops in 2011 and see people taking pictures of their friends just lying down on stuff? That was planking. The most pointless social media trend – but a funny one nonetheless. It was the beginning of social media ‘challenges’ going viral on the internet. We’re not even going to bring up the cinnamon challenge in fear it will come back again. 

July 2012: “Gangnam Style” became the most-watched video ever.

Gangnam Style was the dance phenomenon that nobody – not a single soul – had seen coming. How had a man doing a horse-riding-like dance ignited such an out of control craze? We will never know how Psy did it but it landed him the honour of having the first ever video on YouTube with over one billion views. 

December 2012: People thought the world was going to end – again. 

On the morning of December 21st 2012 some people went to work, some got in the car and took their kids to school and some people had to sullenly face the world and admit they were wrong and the world had not ended the day before. Yes, some of us totally thought world as we know it was ending – after all the Mayan calendar said it would be. When the day came and went just like any other a lot of people felt a little silly (or relieved) the next morning.

February 2013: “The Harlem Shake” happened. 

It’s been a while since we’ve even thought about the cringe infused trend that was The Harlem Shake. Thousands of bizarre 30-second-videos of people dancing to the electronic song by DJ Baauer were being uploaded daily. It was cringey but just funny enough to get away with it. 

February 2014: B ã ł ï ë ñ t ę happened.

One word started an internet craze in less than 24 hours. A single clip of Jesy Nelson doing a ‘Jamaican’ accent was turned into a meme almost instantly. She, and the rest of Little Mix were playing an accent game and for some reason Jesy decided to blurt out… bãłïëñtę. She later tried to play it off as clearing out her throat, six years later that moment remains in the meme hall of fame. 

August 2014: Everyone was doing the Ice Bucket Challenge.

The summer of 2014 had everyone feeling like a YouTuber. Facebook newsfeeds were filled with videos of people dumping ice-cold buckets of water on their heads – named fittingly the Ice Bucket Challenge. With every notification came with it a twang of worry – was I nominated? The trend got big and quickly, which is unsurprising with the likes of Lady Gaga, Tom Hiddleston and Britney Spears joining in. 

February 2015: The blue and black dress happened. 

You read that correctly, the dress was BLUE AND BLACK. Huge things happened in February of 2015: the Katy Perry Superbowl performance with the dancing sharks, Leonard Nimoy died and a single dress divided the people of the world. The image was originally posted on Tumblr and over night had celebrities and scientists weighing in on the unanswerable question: blue and black or gold and white? 

June 2015: Same-sex marriage became legal in the U.S.

One to warm even the coldest of people. June 26, 2015 was a historic day for LGBTQ+ in America — gay marriage finally became legalized in the USA. The long-sought victory triggered an influx in people posting the most wholesome content we’d ever seen. Feeds were full of proud parents, marriage proposals and elderly members of the LGBTQ+ family who had been waiting a lifetime to marry their partners. 

February 2016: Leonardo DiCaprio finally won an Oscar.

After years of being snubbed at the Oscars for an award, Leo was still coming up at a loss until February of 2016. Users had their memes ready to go for another year in a row when the unthinkable happened. Our favourite heartthrob finally got his hands on an award for his leading spot in The Revenant. The internet was, as per always, ready and waiting with new memes. 

May 2016: One word: Harambe. 

Something that started in a zoo in Cincinnati soon spread across the whole world. A young boy fell into the enclosure pit and it lead to Harambe the gorilla being killed. Somehow, this small event in the North East of the USA became the centrepiece of ironic internet meme culture. The news of his death sparked a massive outpouring of public grief and cries for justice. You still can’t get on a bus without seeing the silverbacks name scrawled across the back of a seat in marker pen even in 2019. 

July 2016: Pokémon Go came out and mid-20’s were happy again… for a little bit.

It’s no secret that millennials are open about how sad they are, and let’s face it, nowadays who is surprised? Who can blame them with a giant orange man as President, rising sea levels, the earth being destroyed and on top of that everyone is skint. Amongst all the headache inducing world that was 2016, there was a slight glimmer of hope and it was called Pokemon Go. For the first time in years millennials were outside and enjoying life again. It was the little blast from our childhood that we needed. 

October 2016: RIP Vine – you are missed even now. 

TikTok has sort of filled in the market for Vine users now but it was all a bit up in the air for a while. The death of the app was announced only three years after its launch. We all mourned the loss of the groundbreaking app that spurred a whole new generation of memes that are still quoted regularly in conversation even now. 

January 2017: Millions attended the Women’s March.

The first day of Donald Trump’s presidency was record breaking and not for the reasons he would have wanted – thankfully. Millions of people took to the streets of Washington and cities around the world to protest against him and showing their support for gender equality, civil rights and other issues that faced challenges under the new Trump reign. Over five million people attended 600 marches across the planet, and online was no different. People were live streaming, tweeting and posting it all. 

Hundreds of thousands march down Pennsylvania Avenue during the Women’s March in Washington, DC, U.S., January 21, 2017. REUTERS/Bryan Woolston

September 2017: Gemma Collins falls off the stage at Radio 1 Teen Awards. 

We know you shouldn’t laugh at others misfortune but when it’s as funny as seeing the GC herself falling into a trap door on live television – you can’t help but exhale out your nose, a tiny tiny bit. Let’s face it. It was hilarious. The queen of memes herself shocked audiences at the event when she fell through a trap door in the floor after announcing Love Island had won Best TV Show. 

October 2017: The #MeToo movement took off and became a battle cry. 

After Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein faced many public sexual abuse allegations in early October 2017, the #MeToo hashtag spread virally on social media — and became a rallying cry for women as millions shared their own experiences with sexual harassment and sexual assault. Spurring more than 19 million tweets, the Me Too campaign led to widespread awareness and discussion of the topic and has since then become a historic feminist movement.

October 2018: The one where Ross allegedly stole booze.

It was with unbridled glee the internet got its hands on this story. A man in Blackpool was caught on CCTV stealing booze from a local supermarket, the video was then posted online. The twist? The culprit was the spitting image of David Shwimmer. Best known as Ross from Friends. The story went viral quickly and Schwimmer himself even spoofed it on Twitter. 

https://twitter.com/DavidSchwimmer?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fd-20916691342699066306.ampproject.net%2F1911121900560%2Fframe.html

April 2019: The Lizzo effect. 

After blessing us with her third album Cuz I Love You, something peculiar happened. It seemed that anyone that had listened to it, had their confidence boosted beyond belief. The music industry had been waiting for a woman like Lizzo to come along. A plus size woman of colour who makes getting a number one single look easy. Her message in her music is straight forward: love your body, have faith in yourself and don’t let anyone (especially boys) walk all over you. Mantras we will happily take into 2020 with us.

September 2019: Youth-Led Climate Change Marches 

This year was the year that the youth of the world said: enough. They marched to put an end to gun violence, ending inequality and letting the leaders of the world know that they are demanding change in regards to climate change. Millions of people from Sydney to Manila, Dhaka to London and New York marched for urgent action on climate breakdown. The movement started with one young woman named Greta Thunberg who has since become an internet sensation for her radical environmental movements. 

So there you have it. From dress of meat to Greta Thunberg. A round up of iconic moments from this decade that you didn’t even know you needed. 

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