All the Times People Broke the Internet, Without Even Trying

Wed Dec 22 2021

The internet is a strange and wonderful place where anyone can be famous for any reason. The concept of “going viral” is a pretty new one and no one seems to have found the formula for it just yet. So what is it about these particular internet sensations that made the whole world take notice?

These people all have one thing in common: they broke the internet. Viral internet sensations are proof that, sometimes, we can all agree on something. Perhaps that’s the trick to world peace? We just need to find some sort of a meme, gif, or internet challenge to promote it.

Bernie Is Everyone

Bernie Sanders was the definition of relatable at Joe Biden’s inauguration. We’ve all been in that situation where we have to be somewhere we don’t want to be, we’re cold, we’re miserable, and we just want it to be over so we can go home. Perhaps this photo went viral because of the sheer reliability?

You don’t have to be a millennial to know that going viral can be an opportunity for positive change, and that’s exactly what Bernie did. He used his internet fame to sell t-shirts and sweatshirts with the meme on them. All of the money went to various charities. He aptly said, “It turns out to actually be a good thing, not only a fun thing.” And that is the power of the internet.

Did Anyone Cash Her Outside?

Danielle Peskowitz Bregoli became the “cash me outside” girl from an episode of Dr. Phil. Danielle and her mother were on the show, discussing Danielle’s rebellious behavior when the audience began to laugh. Danielle responded by challenging the audience to “catch me outside, how about that?” but her way of speaking made it sound like she said, “cash me outside, how bout dat?”

Danielle was able to capitalize on her accidental fame and began a music career, under the stage name Bhad Bhabie. The 18-year-old is now a rapper, reality show star, OnlyFans star, and businesswoman. And we have essentially lost all of our faith in humanity.

No on Really Knows Why This Went Viral

It’s hard to understand the huge impact that the Charlie Bit My Finger video had over the internet. No one can really pinpoint why it went viral, but it most certainly did. The video was once the most-watched video on YouTube and tops Time‘s YouTube’s 50 Greatest Viral Videos list. But no one can really explain why…

The parents of the boys in the video have been careful about how they let fame affect their family. They have passed on opportunities to do public appearances and talk shows. When asked about his sons getting older, the patriarch of the family said, “When the boys get to 18, I’d like them to think back and think, ‘O.K. I’ve got something in my life which is more than just what I was when I did the Charlie Bit Me video.’ “

We Still Don’t Know What It Is

Donald Trump has been the talk of the internet plenty of times, however, he absolutely shattered the internet when he accidentally mistyped a Tweet. The Tweet read: “Despite the constant negative press covfefe.” To this day, no one knows what covfefe is or what he was trying to type.

Trump confused the public even more by implying that the Tweet was intentional. He took to Twitter, again, to write: “Who can figure out the true meaning of ‘covfefe’??? Enjoy!” Was this simply Trump getting on the accident joke? Was it a hint that conspiracy theorists were correct and he was actually saying something? We may never know.

The Internet’s Victory Dance

Dabbing became the victory dance of the internet, despite its uncanny resemblance to someone sneezing into their elbow. Football player, Cam Newton, made the dab popular by using it to celebrate touchdowns. He may have started the craze, but the dab existed long before Cam made it mainstream.

The move has long been popular in music videos and Japanese pop culture, although it is unclear exactly how it originated. Now, it’s used as a sign of triumph and victory. Cam explained that he first did the move after his 16-year-old brother asked him to “dab on them folks.”

That’s One Way to Promote Shoes

High school students, Daniel Lara and Joshua Holz became internet famous with their inexplicably hilarious Damn Daniel video. The video essentially just involves one friend complimenting the other’s clothing style, with an emphasis on his white Vans. Yet, somehow, the clip went viral.

Vans knew to capitalize on the free advertisement and Tweeted quotes from the video, such as “Back At It” and “With the White Vans.” They even invited Daniel to star in a Vans commercial, which is basically what the Damn Daniel video is, but Vans didn’t have to pay for that one. Sellers on eBay have also capitalized on the viral video by claiming to sell the Vans Daniel wears in the video. The fake shoes have since sold for over $400,000.

This One Went Viral for the Best Reasons

Paul “Bear” Vasquez became internet famous when he posted a video on YouTube showing his enthusiasm over a double rainbow. Bear first saw the double rainbow, outside his home, near Yosemite National Park. His reaction was that of pure joy and hope, two things the world can always use a little more of.

Bear’s infectious joy caused the video to go viral and the world shared in his happiness. The video became a much-needed reminder that the little things in life are worth cheering for and every moment is worth enjoying. Unfortunately, Bear has since passed away, but his legacy lives on.

Backpack Kid Stole the Show

The dance crazy known as Flossing has been around since 2010 but only started to become popular in 2017. It all started when Katy Perry was performing on Saturday Night Live, and quickly realized she wasn’t going to be the talk of that show. Russell Horning, now known as “The Backpack Kid”, began to floss during Katy’s performance, and he instantly became internet famous.

The move quickly grew in popularity amongst schoolchildren, largely due to the encouragement of parents and teachers. Flossing is a simple and fun dance that lacks the sexual connotations that many dance crazes have. The universal encouragement likely means that flossing is here to stay.

That Awkward Moment When a Cat Makes More Money Than You

Grumpy Cat is an internet celebrity and makes far more money than any of us ever will. Before she was Grumpy Cat, the feline was named Tardar Sauce, and her “grumpy” facial expression was caused by an underbite and feline dwarfism. Apparently, she’s usually just a regular cat, but sometimes she does look “grumpy” for photos.

Since her rise to fame, Grumpy Cat’s owner, Tabatha Bundesen, had to leave her job at Red Lobster in order to manage her pet’s busy schedule. Yes, a cat is busier than you are. Tabatha enlisted the help of her brother, Bryan, to manage Grumpy Cat’s social media presence. Yes, a cat has more followers than you do. It’s a strange world…

One of the Internet’s Most Controversial Moments

Harambe the Gorilla became the subject of worldwide controversy when a 3-year-old human managed to climb into Harambe’s enclosure at the zoo. Harambe appeared to want to care for the child, but a zoo worker shot her before she could, in the fear that she was going to hurt the little boy.

After the incident, everyone took to the internet to argue whether or not Harambe had meant to harm the child. Suddenly, people who had never seen a gorilla in their lives, considered themselves to be animal experts. Whether or not they agreed that Harambe’s demise was necessary, everyone mourned the world’s loss.

Britney’s Biggest Fan

Chris Crocker is probably Britney Spears’s biggest fan. When the pop star was going through a difficult time and facing public ridicule, Chris took to YouTube to share his feelings. The Leave Britney Alone clip is often perceived to be intentionally overexaggerated comedy, but some say it’s Chris showing his true feelings and being vulnerable.

Chris has never explicitly said if the video was intended to be taken seriously or not. He seems to enjoy the ambiguity as part of his art form. Now that Britney is finally free from her conservatorship, we think that she should reach out to Chris to thank him for his support throughout all these years.

Katy Perry Got Upstaged Again

Once again, Katy Perry got upstaged. This time, it was by one of her backup dancers. Bryan Gaw, otherwise known as Left Shark, famously did his own thing while performing along with Katy Perry at the Super Bowl. While Right Shark and Katy were following along to the choreography, Left Shark was a total mood and just did whatever he wanted, and it was epic!

Bryan explained that he wasn’t under the influence of any substances, and he can actually dance, but he was performing in character. He claimed that he was performing as an “underdog, an everyday person, someone imperfect.” Well, we can’t argue with that!

McKayla Is Not Impressed

Olympic gymnast, McKayla Maroney, was not impressed at all with her silver medal and she showed it! The athlete wore a scowling facial expression as she stood at the winner’s podium, at second-place. The relatable photo instantly became a meme and McKayla’s face was photoshopped into any situation internet users found to be sub-optimal.

McKayla reacted well to the accidental fame and joined in on the joke. She made several public appearances in which she spoke about the incident and posed with many celebrities doing her “not impressed” facial expression. She, personally, only finds the meme to be “kinda funny.” So basically, McKayla is not impressed by this meme either.

“The Man Your Man Could Smell Like”

Every brand wants their advertisement to go viral, and Old Spice did exactly that with their completely over-the-top commercial starring Isaiah Mustafa, aka the Old Spice Man. Isaiah has confirmed that the commercial was indeed shot in just one take, as advertised. He said it took three days of filming to get it just right, but the results were worth it.

The commercial became so popular that critics began to review it in a similar way to how they’d review a feature film. The New York Daily News called Isaiah a “wildly smug, cool-cat, smooth dude persona.” While People magazine said that he was “smug” and “over the top.” Believe it or not, the advertisement even won an Emmy.

We Definitely Don’t Look Like That When We Run

Most people don’t look their best while doing sports, and that’s okay. You’re running to get a workout or participate in a marathon, not earn a modeling career. That being said, there are those people that can never take a bad photo, and Zeddie Little, aka Ridiculously Photogenic Guy, is one of them.

Zeddie hasn’t really shown much interest in his newfound fame but he isn’t bothered by it either. He said, “I kinda feel honored to be a part of a joke that’s in good spirit because sometimes the internet can be a little vicious, or jokes can get bent the wrong way. But these are all kinda fun, for the most part, positive… It’s, I guess, the most flattering way to get spread across the internet.” He’s not wrong.

We Have All Been Pizza Rat, at Some Point in Our Lives

We all saw ourselves in Pizza Rat, as we have all been there at some point in our lives. This little rodent was so determined to get his pizza, he was willing to do whatever it took. While plenty of us would work that hard for a slice of pizza, the meme quickly became a metaphor for more serious aspects of life, as well.

One example of Pizza Rat’s cathartic effect was a Tweet that read, “pizza rat is funny until u realize that pizza is all he has time to eat while working the 2 jobs needed to survive in NYC :-(” Clearly, people identified with a rat in the subway. If you’ve ever worked a minimum wage job, you would too.

We Refuse to Salt Our Food Any Other Way Now

Turkish chef, Nusret Gokce, gave us all a lesson on how to salt our food. Now that we’ve seen this method, we refuse to salt our food any other way. Since he went viral, the internet has re-named Nusret as Salt Bae, a title which he’s gladly adopted.

Salt Bae owns a restaurant chain called Et, in seven different countries. While the reviews of his food are mostly negative, people say that his restaurant provides a lot of entertainment value. Apparently, he makes a show of preparing the food and although it doesn’t taste good, people are willing to pay to see a live mem in action.

From Mugshot to Modeling Contract

Jeremy Meeks had a criminal past which resulted in him going to prison for 13 months. It was that fateful sentence that gave Jeremy a path to a different life. After his mugshot went viral, he has been deemed the Sexy Felon and received a modeling contract.

Since his release from prison, Jeremy has worked with supermodels like Bar Rafaeli and Gigi Hadid. He participated in Fashion Week and has even started a movie career. While he has every right in the world to reinvent himself after he’s served his time, we do wonder what it says about us as a society that this all started from a mugshot?

This Internet Sensation Became a Franchise

Believe it or not, Slender Man actually originated from the internet. As opposed to most viral phenomena, which take real-world things and put them online, Slender Man was actually created for the virtual world. An internet forum called Something Awful created a photoshop challenge, in which participants were meant to create paranormal images. That’s how Slender Man was born.

Since then, Slender Man has become a truly terrifying phenomenon. He’s depicted in several different forms of media and there’s even a documentary, Beware the Slenderman, about the fictional creature. While Slender Man may not be fun or humorous, like many other viral sensations, he’s certainly affected pop culture all the same.

Why Did Anyone Think This Was a Good Idea?

The internet became obsessed with aliens and Area 51 after a Facebook post referenced the restricted location. The post (which was meant to be a joke) said, “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All Of Us.” To which the government responded that they absolutely could stop all of us… they’re the government.

In the end, no one was stupid enough to raid the restricted area, but people did camp outside it. The event that was meant to free the aliens turned into more of a festival in which people just hung around. We’re not sure if they wised up or simply lacked motivation.

It’s Gold and White and No One Can Convince Me Otherwise

The Dress was an internet sensation that ruined friendships and family dinners, as everyone insisted they were right. It all started with Cecilia Bleasdale, who was searching for a dress to wear to her daughter’s wedding. She took a picture of the dress to send to her daughter and they disagreed about the color of the dress. And that is why you and your best friend are no longer speaking to each other.

It has since been confirmed that the dress is actually black and blue. That being said, plenty of people still see gold and white, even after the true colors are revealed to them. There are also people who insist that the dress changes colors every time they see it. We have a feeling that this will spark a conspiracy theory soon…

Oh No, Not This Again…

Just in case your personal relationships survived the debate of The Dress, there’s now an audio phenomenon to discuss. The Yanny or Laurel clip is just like The Dress in that the world simply can’t agree on what they hear. Some hear “Yanny”, some hear “Laurel”, and some have the mind bend of hearing both.

The group of students who created the sound clip have announced that they were, in fact, recording “Laurel.” The man who can’t clearly pronounce Laurel is Jay Aubrey Jones, an opera singer who was hired to record words for Vocabulary.com. Ironically, Yanny is a word in our vocabulary now.

That’s One Way to Get Out of Your Minimum Wage Job

Alex Lee was just a regular kid working at Target when suddenly he became the internet sensation Alex from Target. He was just doing his job, minding his own business, and some customers were filming him and posting it online. Teenagers’ hearts everywhere exploded as they all found Alex to be adorable. Even Target Tweeted, “We heart Alex, too!”

Of course, conspiracy theorists need to ruin a perfectly fun and innocent occurrence. The theories state that Target planted, and promoted, the whole Alex from Target phenomenon in order to promote their stores. We don’t really think that something like going viral can be planned. This was truly just the work of some lovestruck teenage girls.

Proof That We’re All Bored

Clearly, we were all very bored as a society, because we decided to create the online challenge of Planking. Planking is imitating a wooden plank by lying on your stomach, sometimes partly suspended in the air. Yes, we made lying down into an internet sensation.

We also managed to ruin this challenge, just as quickly as we started it. As the Planking photos were getting more and more impressive, people were putting themselves in more and more dangerous situations, to try and get attention on social media. In the end, we decided as a society, that we compete with each other enough on social media. Lying on our stomachs can remain the one thing that we should be able to do without trying to get “likes.”