upload: Internet Field Manual

Your guide to the foreign customs of the internet.

Feature by Alex Cole | 24 Feb 2010
  • Internet Meme Database

Internet jokes are like tree rings - you can date pretty much anyone by what YouTube videos they saw when, or how long it took them to get BadgerBadgerBadger out of their heads. Some grew up with Dramatic Chipmunk, others are still trying to figure out why ninjas and pirates hate each other.

Much like puberty before the internet, however, for a long time there was no reliable resource to learn what everyone was talking about. You didn't want to ask to avoid feeling like a prat, but playing along just kept you in the dark longer. For internet memes, those viral videos, animations and forum postings, searching only brought up the incidences, not the whole story.

And that's where my new favourite site, knowyourmeme.com, comes into play. The Internet Meme Database makes collects and collates practically any meme, from LoLcats on through David After Dentist, and gives you the entire breakdown of how they started, common deviations, and their popularity on the internet over time. Some even get videos that look straight out of chemistry class, taken only slightly tongue-in-cheek.

Essentially the site documents the parts of the internet where so many of these memes are born (infamous forums like 4chan), but where many people never go online. The turnaround can sometimes be head-spinning: it took only a few hours before Kanye's impromptu VMA speech was turned into a persistent forum gag, a website, and edited into videos of just about anyone giving a speech. Tshirts still available.

Trend watching sites aren't new in and of themselves, but when the trends don't come from glossy mags or TV shows, and come at the dizzying pace of so many monkeys at so many keyboards, sites like this become like a tour guide to the local customs and cultural quirks of the internet. Not that it will help you land a job, but never underestimate that value of knowing that Longcat is, actually, loooooooooooooooong.