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MEME OF THE DECADE

Updated: Aug 31, 2022

As we approach the end of the decade, many look back to see which meme has defined the 2010 era. These humorous images and videos have been entertaining us since some of the early days of the Internet, evolving from a simple image with impact font and striped backgrounds, to an over-saturated and degraded image of a potato labelled “Bottom text.” These memes have reflected the attitudes and sense of humor of humanity since their creation. We have decided to look into which meme should we consider to define our decade. Looking across the spectrums of reddit to instagram, we have decided that we should define our memes by their prevalence throughout the entire decade, doing research into when the meme grew to popularity and when the meme “died.” We searched for memes that were popular towards 2012 and 2013, but also memes that lasted all the way into 2019 and remained popular, in one form or another. And then we asked all of you to give us your input, here were the results.



#6 Thanos

Thanos is one of the most recognizable movie characters of the decade and this popularity mainly came from Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame in 2018 and 2019. A lot of great moments and memes came from these two movies and cemented this purple, yeezy-chinned, gauntlet holding,finger snapping hero. To call him a “villain” would be a travesty to all of humanity because even to other people, he is a hero. That is why Thanos should be on this list. He is wrongly portrayed as the antagonist, but he is just a misunderstood hero being bullied by the cruel Avengers trying to achieve his dreams. Thanos’ goals cost him everything which led to the popular Thanos meme “What did it cost?”. That is not the only huge meme of Thanos as there is the world-renowned “Thanos Car”. Whatever meme this loveable purple hero is in, it will be an iconic image.


#5 Minecraft

As a pixel game that started out with a single young man programming very simple aspects, Minecraft was a game meant to stay with the generation it was created in. Although its visual aspects may not be aesthetically pleasing, Minecraft has countless features, designs, and processes that make the game extremely addictive and craving for more adventure as they fight off the monsters of the night and the hunger of a hard day’s work. If you were to ask a sample of students if they know what the game Minecraft is, 99/100 will say yes. Minecraft itself has etched its name into this generation’s history. It is what made many childhoods complete, and for many, continues to be a beacon of adventure and enjoyment. Minecraft is a legendary game, with over ten years of life and ten more to come. Generation Z interprets indirect hints toward feelings of either insecurity or admiration through the use of minecraft memes such as, “Do you want to place our minecraft beds together?” This joke can be taken quite literally, or conversely, as an indirect hint at hidden feelings for another person. The Minecraft memes observed on the internet as of 2019 are in abundance and can either be used to communicate popular or relatable concepts or ideas that make no sense at all.


#4 Filthy Frank

Filthy Frank is an internet legend, he started with humble beginnings on his Youtube channel, YTFilthyFrank, where he used various characters such as Filthy Frank, also known as Papa Franku, Pink Guy, Salamander Man, and other characters that were played by himself and occasionally others he was close with such as iDubbbz and maxmoefoe. Most of his content included making fun of cringe, performing humorous skits, and creating storylines and music to entertain his audience. Throughout his 7 years on Youtube (2011-2017) he gained almost 7 million subscribers and created content that would be remembered and replayed for years after he moved on. After he quit Youtube, he pursued a career in music under the name JOJI, and has become a popular music artist today, but to most of his fans, he will always remain Filthy Frank.


#3 Tom

Tom, a simple fellow from a cartoon. The antics of the show “Tom and Jerry” have

made for some excellent memes as people capture odd frames of these elastic characters. This was prevalent throughout the earlier years in a meme picturing Tom looking up with an odd glare from his newspaper, often used to show something that isn’t quite right or has an unbearably odd characteristic to it. Tom made several more resurgences, popping up in 2019 as “Unsettled tom” and towards 2017 as Tom who was placing the barrel of a cartoon rifle into Jerry’s mousehole, only for it to pop out of a different hole to himself. This was often used to depict somebody doing something that would backfire on themselves. This meme has been prevalent in some way or another throughout the last 10 years, gaining most of its popularity on reddit but reforming almost monthly when the meme would die. Thus, it would be a great candidate for number 1.


#2 Spongebob

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? A candidate for meme of the decade! This funny creature, along with his mischievous friends have expressed a variety of very “meme-able” emotions. Some examples were a picture of Spongebob warning Patrick not to say something to Squidward, because he would be afraid of it, Spongebob pointing out numerous examples of things to Patrick, Spongebob laughing hysterically and being very reluctant to give up some money but also very easy to spend it on something else. Spongebob was also prevalent towards the beginning of the decade, with such gems as “I don’t need it” and a wide-mouthed Patrick.


Honorable mentions:

Pepe the frog was a prevalent meme, mostly across 4chan, but was disqualified from the list on account of being considered a hate symbol. Because of the versatility of the meme, it is often used to spread politically incorrect messages. So, it was disqualified despite its widespread use throughout the decade. Another honorable meme was Keanu Reeves, who had great prevalence in the beginning of the decade across memes on Facebook, and also a recent resurgence in 2019, but little activity throughout the middle of the decade. The meme of Mike Wazowski, a fellow from Monster’s Inc., reacting to something unsettling, got many votes. But, this meme was only popular recently, which wouldn’t be a good definer of the decade. JoJo’s bizarre adventure also had some good formats as it gained popularity in the later years of the decade.


#1 Blinking Man

The meme that gained the most votes was the “Blinking man.” This meme has a wide variety of use, ranging from surprise to concern at something particularly odd. The meme originated on Facebook early in the decade, being a major pioneer from the impact font memes, that dominated in the early decade, to the modern day captioned memes. The man currently gained another major resurgence in 2019, with a format that is almost exactly the same as its original run, with a few variations in format. The meme won the most votes in our survey and made quite a few people laugh throughout the years, so we consider it meme of the decade.



What does your list look like? Do you disagree. Come leave a comment here, and tell us what you think should be the meme to define our decade?


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