Whether it's because I am a Gen Z, or because the internet and social media is such a large part of my studies, I love "Internet Culture." Internet Culture is the blanket term given to social movements, trends and conversations that stem from the various communities individuals are a part of online. Many classic examples of this manifest themselves in the form of "memes" and "viral" social content. It's the content we DM to our coworkers and friends, the photos we repurpose to get a laugh on our own social media pages. These are what I think were the highlights of this content for 2019.
*Presented in no particular order and based on the opinions of EZ only*
"Woman Yelling at Cat"
This photo collage of a pair of unhappy "Real Housewives" and an unbothered, or confused, take your pick, cat from Tumblr made jumping to conclusions and voicing your pet peeves potential for viral content. The original meme began trending on Twitter in early May 2019, but seemed to hit its peak trending point in the middle of November. If you scroll through your Twitter feed, you're still bound to see some version of it.
"Woman Trying Kombucha"
If you haven't heard of Tik Tok, you're missing out and must not have access to an internet connection. Tik Tok is a short-form video content sharing platform extremely similar to the app Vine, which shut down in 2016. Influencers are slowly rising from this platform, and videos receive an average of 17 billion views monthly. One viral creator, Brittany Tomlinson, released a short video of her reaction to trying Kombucha for the first time, showing a confused rollercoaster of emotions. The video quickly became popular content to republish with a caption about things that are kind of horrible, but questionably good all at the same time.
Literally Everything About #StormArea51
What started as an internet joke about a Facebook event to raid Area 51 turned into plans of a four-day music festival. It then eventually ended in a one-night Bud Light sponsored dance party event. While the festival wasn't a hit, the social media and branded content that came out of this "movement" were extremely entertaining. Some highlights include the Bud Light Area 51 branded can and social content and "My Alien" tweets and combining the trending hashtag with existing popular reaction images.
"That Should've Been You" Dad Joke
This one is particularly funny because it really hits home for a lot of people, especially myself, who was looking into a medical career at one point. This conversation format about a dad making fun of their child for being useless in a medical emergency combines everyone's favorite "dad humor" with some self-deprecation. Additional points that there are some really funny ones for marketing communicators.
"Rise and Shine" Kylie Jenner
Despite being a 21-year-old girl, I'm not a huge follower or fan of the Kardashian family, but I was SUPER into this trend when it came out. During a tour of her "Kylie Cosmetics" office, Kylie Jenner shows the audience the room she built for her daughter to play and sleep in during her work hours. Kylie flips on a light and sings a horrible tone-deaf "Riiiise and Shiiinnee" to her daughter. I have spent way too many hours watching this clip and singing it to my roommates, as well as filming a version myself.
While these trends may seem ridiculous, they are what consumers are searching for, talking about and laughing about online. If your target audience is on social media, this may be content you want your social media manager to start thinking about applying to your brand if it authentically fits the voice you made for your brand.
More About Emily:
Emily Zekonis ( @EmilyZekonis) is a graduate student studying Integrated Marketing Communications with an Area of Emphasis in Management. She is from the Philadelphia area of Pennsylvania. She holds a BSJ in Strategic Communications with an area of emphasis in Public Relations from West Virginia University. Follow along with her graduate adventures on the Marketing Communications Today blog.