When and Where Popular Meme Started

It is said that a meme is an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture. A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, or practices that can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena with a mimicked theme. Others, such as Reddit calls them “Advice Animals,” but the rest of the Internet just knows them as “those animals and people that keep popping up on my Facebook timeline.”

In a world where a complete stranger’s face can become a pillar of pop culture, we figured it is about time you know when and where they came from.

  1. Overly Attached Girlfriend (est. September 2012)

José Roberto Rincón: Overly Attached Girlfriend
Overly Attached Girlfriend

Her fake fan video for Justin Bieber catapulted her into Internet Pop Culture. Not only is she mostly a normal person, she’s kind of funny.

2. Grumpy Cat (est. September 2012)

He has always been called “grumpy cat” since his original post to Reddit. Now, he is the official “spokescat.”

3. Overly Manly Man (est. September 2012 or way earlier)

José Roberto Rincón: Overly Manly Man
Overly Manly Man

While the original source of the photo is not certain, he first popped up in pop culture in the fictional “Mulligan’s Steakhouse” poster Parks and Recreation.

4. Scumbag Steve (est. January 2011)

This image is older than you might realize: it comes from the guy’s MySpace page. However, the image became popular in 2011.

5. Good Guy Greg (est. April 2011)

José Roberto Rincón: Good Guy Greg
Good Guy Greg

Greg is a great guy. He borrows five dollars, and gives back ten. He is the antithesis of Scumbag Steve. The Internet loves Greg. However, Greg is not the first of his kind. Long before Greg, a meme with a similar purpose and a familiar face roamed the Internet.

6. Confession Bear (est. April 2007)

The confession bear comes from an image uploaded to Getty in 2007. His confessions are embarrassing, hilarious and usually a bit depressing.

Someone once posted this version on Reddit:

And it caused quite a controversy. Either he murdered someone or he made up the story to get Reddit karma. Which is worse? We don’t know. Internet Ethics at their finest.

7. Conspiracy Keanu (est. February 1989)

Conspiracy Keanu
Conspiracy Keanu

Conspiracy Keanu provides many possibilities for Internet Meme-makers. But the greatest Keanu Internet Conspiracy of all has nothing to do with this meme. He is immortal.

8. Sudden Clarity Clarence (est. November 2009)

Also taken from a stock photo, Sudden Clarity Clarence often receives flak for being too similar to Conspiracy Keanu. Perhaps, the real controversy surrounded Clarence, is the number of people who claim to be him. Though, none of them are from Australia, where the picture was taken.

9. Really High Guy (est. November 2011)

You can type anything over “Really High Guy” and it will probably be funny. He’s become such a familiar face that these other pictures of him that are apparently from the same wonderful evening are weirdly disarming.

10. The Most Interesting Man In The World (est. The Beginning of Time)

The Most Interesting Man In The World
The Most Interesting Man In The World

We all know the Dos Equis commercials, which make this popular meme rather unique for being inspired by an advertisement. The actor, Jonathan Goldsmith, is enjoying the benefits of some great marketing: a boy in a Mexican restaurant once informed Goldsmith that he wanted to be him when he grew up.

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