It’s a fact: not all internet phenomena are created equally. Every once in a while, a bizarre idea spawned in the festering forums of 4chan will get lucky enough to make its way out into the real world and enter the everyday lives of normal people; but for every “Hamster Dance” or “Peanut Butter Jelly Time,” there are at least three other attempts at creating the next big cultural icon that never make it too far past the planning stages…
How it worked: Users would begin with a picture of a small rodent and add a caption which would function as a hypothetical speech bubble for the animal. Often, the caption would contain intentionally misspelled words and broken English for comedic effect.
Why it never caught on: Rats just aren’t cute enough.
How it worked: A user would post a message on an internet forum, containing a link to a url which he or she (okay, he) would claim to be relevant to the discussion; however, said link would actually be a page containing a picture of soap. When the ruse was discovered, the perpetrator would then respond by saying “You’ve been soap’d!” Spinoffs from this idea, including “You’ve been soup’d!”, were planned, but never actually implemented.
Why it never caught on: “You’ve Been Soap’d” was considered too stupid, even by the incredibly low standards of the internet.
How it worked: Photoshop-savvy individuals would begin with an image of 19th secretary of the navy John Young Mason, who held the position from 1844 to 1849, and digitally insert him into unusual and often inappropriate situations.
Why it never caught on: Too few images of the former secretary exist today, limiting the number of creative possibilities.
How it worked: A meme that would be almost exclusive to forums and chatrooms, a user would use the phrase “No parking between the hours of 10PM and 12 Noon” in response to a statement that he finds offensive or does not agree with.
Why it never caught on: “No Parking” was quickly overtaken by the more popular phrase “Do Not Want,” mainly on account of the latter being easier and faster to type, and the fact that poor grammar tends to increase the speed at which internet phenomena travel (the exact, formal definition outlining this fact is known as Cagri’s Law).
How it worked: Users would turn off their computers and leave the house for a while, often spending a prolonged period of time in an outdoor environment. Preferably, the user would also engage in some sort of activity which involved exercise during this time.
Why it never caught on: Internet users have a vampire-like sensitivity to sunlight, and the severe carpal tunnel and muscle atrophy that results from parking one’s fat ass in front of a computer screen for long periods of time was too much of a hindrance to even the most rudimentary physical activity.