Thursday, November 28, 2013

Nyan Cat - Noriko Yamasaki

Nyan Cat is one of Internet’s most famous meme that was uploaded on April 2011 as a YouTube video. This video depicts an animation of a cartoon cat with the body of a Pop Tart flying through outer space with a rainbow shooting from behind. The background music of the video is a Japanese pop song called “Nyanyanyanyanyanyanya!" by Hatsune Miku and the animation was posted by Christopher Torres1.

Original Video

I think Nyan Cat became popular for its catchy repetitive high pitched yet cartoon like song. With the combination of the smiling cute GIF cat that prances across the universe, it also lets the viewer think he/she is part of a game.
Another reason Nyan Cat went viral because the video just does not make sense to people. They question why the cat’s body is a Pop Tart and why there is a trail of rainbow while the cat is flying in outer space. In addition, after a while, the song becomes quite annoying and remains stuck in one’s head for sometime, hence, it is fun to show this video to people as a form of joke.

According to Google Insights, the video peaked its popularity/interest by the viewer on June 2011, one month after its upload onto the web. Then there was a dip on September 2011, but then interest was regained in October of 2011. Gradually after that, there was a slow decrease in interest over time but it safe to say that there is still a significant interest in the viral video2.

The Nyan Cat video was also placed ninth in Business Insider’s top ten viral videos in April of 20113. Today, the original YouTube video has received 103, 969, 957 views as of November 28, 20134. Along with the videos popularity there has been new remixes, cover versions, and parody videos. Extending off of Nyan Cat’s popularity other memes that have emerged from this is Nyan Cat games wherethere is an officially licensed game called “Nyan Cat Adventure” owned by 21st Street games5.  Nyan Cat is now everywhere, whether it is painted on walls of a subway station, people making reaction videos to watching Nyan Cat.

Caption: Who left the Tubes again?
Text Box:

Work Cited:

1. Thazar, B., 2011. POP Profile: The Guy Behind The Viral Phenomenon “Nyan Cat”. Available at:

2. Google Insights: Nyan Cat. Available at:

3. Wei, W., 2011. Top viral videos of April: What’s A “Nyan Cat. Available at:

4. saraj00n, April 5 2011. Nyan Cat [original] Available at:

Harlem Shake - Siddhant Puri

The “Harlem Shake” now refers to two different things - the actual Harlem Shake was a dance that was closely tied to the history and culture of the neighborhood Harlem in New York and the internet phenomena that started in February 2013. Unfortunately, most people are only familiar with the latter.

Diving into a little history, the Harlem Shake was started in the 80s by Albert Leopold Boyce. He used to perform is as part of the half-time show at basketball games. It came to be known as ‘The Al B’. It was simple dance routine that involved pivoting the shoulders while popping the other shoulder out at the same time. Popular dance crews in the neighbourhood adopted it and it reached its peak in 2001 when it was featured in P.Diddy and Jadakiss songs.

However, the song reemerged as a youtube craze when in February 2013 Bauer released his song the Harlem Shake. What came as a result was a series of videos that started with an indirvidual dancing alone and 30 seconds into the video erupted into a giant party. The video took the internet like wildfire. Here is the original video:

The video amassed 300,00 views in the first 24 hours and caused many more parodies to emerge. Universities across america, sports teams,  cops, you name it everyone had their very own rendition of the ‘Harlem Shake’.

When asked about the video, Harlem residents pointed out that viral videos had no relation to the originial Harlem Shake and found it disrespectful to their culture.

Casually Pepper Spray Everything Cop – Kimiya Hojjat

In the Fall of 2011, Americans everywhere engaged in the Occupy Movement. They held post on university campuses and streets demanding a change in society to decrease the gap between the rich and the poor. They tried to spread awareness about the inequality within our economy and the unjust treatment by the government. Socially engaged universities held much of this protest. At UC Berkeley, we saw an uprising of students demanding justice as they camped out on campus against police requests. We also saw this same motion at other universities, including UC Davis. However, despite the police brutality and student resistance abound, UC Davis solidified a name for themselves as a centerpiece of the Occupy Movement’s absurdity…or rather, what we have now come to accept as internet humor. The “Casually Pepper Spray Everything Cop” depicts an image of a police officer nonchalantly pepper spraying a row of UC Davis students resisting their orders. The students are not aggressive, there is no combat,  and the only movement we see really, is that of the cop’s sauntering, casually attempting to dominate the human chain. 

This image proceeded to grow out of its original context and define any moment in which an absurdly offhanded pepper spray offense takes place, or seems humorously appropriate. Hundreds of photo-shopped images were shared online, most of which placed the infamous antagonist into various milestones of American history. For instance, Lt. John Pike, the infamous cop here, is photo-shopped onto the 1819 Declaration of Independence painting by John Trumbull. In images like these, Lt. Pike is to stand as symbol of degradation, carelessly trying to destruct that which makes our nation strong. At first it was the social power of our universities’ youth and now it is anything which stands as a perfectly reasonable and respected force of a parade, rained on by the unrelenting and brash police.

This meme is not only popular due to the sheer absurdity it exalts, but also because of its greater message of injustice and how frankly absurd the government can be. The image proliferated at a time when the buzz surrounding its context was thriving and there were hordes of college students ( the majority of the internet population) involved in the story, communicating about it, sharing it. When the digital word of humor coincides with the real world at a time when social context strives to augment the message/humor of memes, we see the greatest connection and growth. The meme served as a backlash for the cop involved, as well as for the whole situation in general. This simply goes to show that when the absurdity is illuminated as a trending meme online, the meaning of the image changes. It is taken out of context and elevated as something greater, as a symbol of the lack of social justice in America and a means by which college students and comparable cohorts can all relate to each other. 

The meme’s popularity died down as the Occupy movement and backlash died down (note the Google Insight analytics above), however not without first becoming a part of a greater sensation.  Soon news reports that sought to delicately exonerate the obviously-out-of-place cop became captioned images of this same sense of nonchalentness in regarding the greater issue at hand. Additionally, pepper spray as a product came to be known as a meme in itself. On November 21st 2011, Amazon reviewers began commenting spoof reviews for the specific brand of pepper spray canister used in the incident. They would post humorous comments such as, Whenever I need to breezily inflict discipline on unruly citizens, I know I can trust Defense Technology 56895 MK-9 Stream, 1.3% Red Band/1.3% Blue Band Pepper Spray to get the job done! The power of reason is no match for Defense Technology’s superior repression power.” Again, all of these meme extensions serve to stand as examples of internet attacks against irrational mentalities. We find I funny and share it as humorous material, because it is relatable and relevant. Surely, I have seen plenty of my friends share the adapted, “Don’t mind me, just watering my hippies!” version as a means to note both their sympathy and their responsibility- to be involved in something so relevant, to spread word of it and understand it.

Paula Deen Riding Things - Aliza Levin

I chose to analyze the “Paula Deen Riding Things” meme. This particular meme became popular in February of 2011 after a food festival where Paula Deen was photographed riding another chef celebrity, Robert Irvine. The day after the event, the image was posted on various popular media websites, and within days, the image went viral. Paula Deen’s figure and position was cut out of the photo and photoshopped into more images and photos than imaginable. I think this particular meme became so popular simply because of Deen’s positioning and expression in the image. It’s not often that you see a celebrity publicly do something outside of social norms, especially riding another celebrity. The public loves moments like these, and does not hesitate to use them for their own entertainment.

            This image of Paula Deen in this meme is from the South Beach Wine & Food Festival on February 27th, 2011, and originated on Tumblr on February 28th. At the event, Robert Irvine got down on his hands and knees, and Paula Deen proceeded to sit on his back, with wine in hand. This image of Deen was taken and used completely out of context – riding a hotdog, riding Jimmy Fallon’s shoulder during a run, and many, many more. The image became popular towards the end of February and beginning of March. On February 28th (just one day after the event), the image of Deen was posted on Buzzfeed, Uproxx, MSNBC, FARK, and the New York Post. And on March 1st, it became incredibly popular on Twitter because of a tweet from Jimmy Fallon in which he attached a link to the Tumblr blog. Following Fallon’s tweet, the meme trended in several other blogs and websites, such as Food Network Humor and the Huffington Post. “Paula Deen Riding Things” eventually made it on the list of Top Ten Memes of 2011. According to Google Insights, the meme hit its peak in the beginning of March of 2011.

            A variety of memes emerged from this meme, of Paula Deen essentially riding anything and everything. She appears riding shoulders, various foods, and on mounds of butter (referencing her excessive use of butter). Both formal blogs and the general public chose to take the cropped image of her to extremes, and placed her in some of the most outrageous yet creative memes.

'Bert is Angry' - Alex Krzyzosiak

In 1998, the ‘Bert is Angry’ meme trend began to become popular when Dino Ignacio created a website where Sesame Street character Bert was photoshopped into old historical photographs were uploaded to the site. The images on were meant to be funny and the Project was called Bert is Evil because there was there was a belief that Bert was evil. For example there were images of Bert as part of the KKK as well as being involved in the JFK assassination (see images). The great success of this trend was no doubt due to the fact that these images of Bert in unexpected places/photographs was that people could easily photoshop their own photographs and were also able to easily share them with the rest of the world thus helped the trend grow even more.

However, although ‘Bert is Evil’ became very popular and hit an all time high around 2001 because of 9/11, the trend began to die down and decline in popularity around 2004. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

GoPro - Siddhant Puri

I decided to analyze GoPro's effective social media marketing campaign. GoPro sells wearable HD video cameras that make it possible to capture impossible shots on tape. I chose GoPro because there company's most effective marketing is done through social media. People love sharing videos on facebook and GoPro helps them capture their lives like never before. What really sets them apart is their level of engagement by their users. GoPro uploads a 'video of the day' and a 'picture of the day' which forces users to tag/hashtag GoPro in their videos and pictures. They have turned their user into content generators. In fact even if you haven not directly liked GoPro you probably still have seen a video that was shared by a friend that was on the GoPro page. It was interesting to see that 25 people on my friend list had liked the page despite not owning a GoPro device showing the quality of the content.

Despite having a fairly successful self-sufficient social media marketing campaign that makes users advertise the product for you GoPro goes the extra mile. They have used action sport celebrities like Kelly Slater and Shaun White as ambassadors and socially share content from them directly on their facebook page. They also have premiums on their page such as the "Everything We Make" daily contest that gives a full line of GoPro products to one lucky winner and the Instagram contest requesting bands to submit creative content using GoPros. With over five million likes this company's marketing strategy is truly inspiring. Go like their page you will not regret it.