's Picks 2012: Viral Trends

By Staff is looking back on the year that was. Today we've got the best viral trends that turned up in 2012.

Every year about this time, lists recapping the year’s best whatever start to surface, and we’re telling you right now they’re all bogus, save ours.

Over the next few weeks,’s Picks 2012 will provide you with the year in review, from movies to music to viral trends, political and celebrity scandals and even ideas. We’re showcasing the year’s best across the board and up next is Viral Trends.

Check out our recap of the year’s best films here.

Stop SOPA!

January 18, 2012, otherwise known as The Day the Internet Came to a Grinding Halt.

In response to a bill tabled in the U.S. House of Representatives, Wikipedia (and numerous other big-name websites) put millions of lazy teenagers with essays to write in a bind when they blacked out all their content in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act. The bill, an ass-backwards and arcane answer to “eradicating online pirated content,” infringed on so many fundamental rights and threatened so thoroughly the ideas of innovation and progress that nearly every connected person with a liberal bone in his or her body took to the online outlets to cry foul. The result was an internet blackout the likes of which only the Chinese Government could dream of, and the bill, with its passing decided by the elected officials whose congressional districts were ablaze in protest, was defeated.

Gangnam Style

July 15, 2012, otherwise known as the Summer of PSY.

With its 780 million Youtube views, PSY’s “Gangnam Style” is unquestionably the most viral thing to hit the internet since…I don’t know. Cats? Anonymous message-board racism? It’s huge. There’s hardly any point in explaining it; someone in your immediate vicinity is probably watching it or one of its innumerable parodies right now. At the time of its release, Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” was sitting atop Youtube’s Top 100 Music Videos and was clocking about 1.5 million views a day; by the end of August, “Gangnam Style” was bringing in 9 million viewers daily. Guinness World Records has already proclaimed it the Most Liked Video in Youtube History…you know, until something else comes along for our coworkers to share and reply-all to en masse.

McKayla Is Not Impressed

August 5th, 2012, otherwise known as Positive Affirmation Day for Stuck-Up Teenage Girls Everywhere

When Olympic athletes lose, they usually give the “it was an honor just to be here representing my country” spiel and everyone applauds their humility and grace. Not McKayla Maroney. The U.S. Gymnast didn’t even really lose; she came in second, which as we all know is good for a silver medal, something most of us will never achieve and hardly anything to scoff at. But McKayla Maroney was not impressed. Her disdain oozed out during the medal ceremony and was captured by almost every international news network covering the games and spawned one of 2012’s most notorious memes: McKayla Is Not Impressed. Weeks passed and the infamous facial expression was still making the rounds, popping up in just about every picture it could possibly be jammed into before fading into obscurity behind every insane thing the Republican Party said or did for the next two months.

KONY 2012

March 5, 2012, otherwise known as The Day Everyone Suddenly Cared About Something They Didn’t Even Know They Cared About.

Between the Arab Spring, SOPA and Occupy (what the fuck ever happened to Occupy?), we discovered that our social media can perhaps be used for better things than sharing pictures of our food and vocalizing every mundane thought we’ve ever had (“Playboy is…going to the bank”). Back in March, KONY 2012, a short film documenting the cruelty and violence of Ugandan militia leader and indicted war criminal Joseph Kony, took the online airwaves by storm. Within five days of its release, the film had hit 85 million Youtube views, had become the top trending Twitter hashtag and had been pushed by celebrities like Angelina Jolie, George Clooney and Oprah Winfrey. It inspired a United States resolution condemning Joseph Kony and an African Union “brigade” of 5,000 military members committed to ending his reign of terror. Then it puttered out amid controversy and accusations of slacktivism and finally died on the vine when the film’s director, Jason Russell (above), was found naked in the streets, screaming incoherently at oncoming traffic, and was diagnosed with an acute case of reactive psychosis.

Honorable Mentions: Shit Girls Say, Big Bird and Talking Openly To Empty Chairs.


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