Top 10 Most Famous Internet Memes & Their Popularity Stories

Do you have the feeling that you’ve already seen those faces? No, no, please don’t hurry up to visit your therapist. You are not trapped in the “Groundhog Day”. You could encounter them surfing the internet or checking your social media account, as you are viewing the compilation of 10 most famous and funniest internet memes. Do you know how quickly they spread over the www? Would you like to know their secret? They’d love to share it, so let’s try to find the answer right now, in our post.

Look at These Faces… And Give Them a Smile… Why? Because these are the Most Famous and Funniest Internet Memes with Their Popularity Stories! 

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Nowadays, it’s safe to say that memes flooded the internet. They appear here and there on different websites with not too serious content. Some businessmen even use memes as a publicity stunt. We don’t think that all web community members need the term explanation, but will state it in any case for the users that are not acknowledged with such kind of stuff.

So, what is a meme?

Actually, the term internet meme is a neologism used to describe a catchphrase or concept that spreads fulminantly from person to person via the Internet, much like an inside joke. In simple words, memes are those hilarious pictures, sometimes supplied with laughable text, which make you smile or laugh stiff, although the concept of memes refers to a much broader category of cultural information.

Memes are especially popular on social network sites where there are even special dedicated groups of users who collect them.

The goal of memes life and secrets of their stunning popularity  

Most memes just entertain people with their comic content. Whether you like it or not, it’s quite obvious that they have become an essential part of contemporary virtual world. But what is really amazing is how quickly these “funny pics” gain their popularity.

How they manage to do that?

The popularity comes quite naturally, that is, without any super efforts from the side of their creators. Just think about how much time, professional skills and money investments do you need to draw traffic to your website.

Don’t you suppose that there are some tricks we can learn from memes to boost our conversion?

Mechanism of memes spreading

As a rule, the mechanism of internet meme spreading is rather simple. Digital file or link is transferred from one person to another with the help of email, blogs, social networking sites, instant messaging, etc. The content can consist of a saying or joke, a rumor, an altered or original image, a complete website, a video clip or animation, or an offbeat news story, and whatnot.

The peculiarity of an internet meme is that it may stay the same or may evolve over time, by chance or through commentary, imitations, and parody versions, or even by collecting news accounts about itself.

From our viewpoint, great popularity of internet memes is greatly influenced by the fact that they are spread organically, voluntarily, and peer to peer, rather than by compulsion, predetermined path, or completely automated means. We believe that this is the main phenomenon of their popularity.

You know, internet memes can be viewed as a certain form of art. The existence of websites that collect and popularize internet memes as well as sites devoted to the spread of specific internet memes prove this statement. Internet memes show interesting samples, moving from individual web pages and pictures to user created remakes of popular content.

Types of Memes and Ways of their Birth

You can’t but agree that nothing on Earth as well as on the internet happens accidentally, without any specific purpose. The same story is true for memes. So, what makes people develop them and how they use their creations in the aftermath?

1. Self-promotion

Have you ever read the story “Vanity Fair” by William Makepeace Thackeray? The situation with creation an internet meme for person, company, product, musical group, or the like promotion for its pop culture value resembles it very much. If you are going to reach popularity this way, you have all chances to become an internet meme.

2. Inadvertent Celebrity Quotation

Take care of what you say or do if you are an object of paparazzi hunt. Otherwise, you take the risk of becoming famous due to the embarrassing video, e-mail, or other act.

3. Urban Rumors and Hoaxes

It’s not a secret that many internet memes are urban legends, fraud schemes, slander, or false news stories that are either planted deliberately to become an internet meme, evolve by mistake or rumor, or jump from an offline source to the Internet.

4. Advertising and Marketing

Of course, marketing professionals couldn’t miss such great opportunity to feed much ado about the event or product they need to promote. Yes, internet memes have become an alternative form of viral marketing to create efficient online “buzz” for their product or service.

5. Image Editing

Modified image memes are perhaps the most popular ones. As you have already guessed, they are created by editing images (pictures, drawings, portraits, etc.). This kind of internet memes acquire a broad significance rapidly because the easiness of sharing over the internet.

6. References to Pop Culture

Very often internet memes include references to current items of pop culture, such as popular movies, celebrities or news.

Now, when we have the in-depth information background, let’s research this phenomenon deeper on the examples of 10 most famous and funniest internet memes. (Most of them are comic heroes just because the author of this post is fascinated with comics).

One of the very first memes was the Ttrollface (which we will discuss herein under). It had spread all over the internet as a comic character. There exist tons of comics which include the Trollface. People who accidentally came across those comics and read them most likely wanted to know more because of their hilariousness, so the Coolface gained popularity quickly.

The variety of memes is really too vast to name them all, so we were to make a pick. Hoping you’ll like our choices and stories that accompany them. Sure enough, you will find comics with those memes. But, let’s better start our list.

1. The Trollface


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This meme was originally drawn by a DevianArt user named Whynne. This is a rage comic character with a wicked smile. It is meant to reproduce the facial expressions of “Internet Trolls”. It is most often used in rage comics to position oneself as a troll. The Trollface started to gain popularity in January of 2009 and reached its peak in March 2012. Here’s an example of the Coolface trolling physics or whatever this branch science is called.


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2. Yao Ming Face


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Yao Ming face is a rage, comic-style drawing of Yao Ming, a professional basketball player. This meme is commonly used to show the dismissive reaction on someone’s activity. It originated from Yao Ming’s facial expressions during an interview where he laughs supposedly saying “Bitch Please”. Also, it is used as a refusal of doing something, like work or anything else. It started gaining popularity in December 2010, reaching its peak in April 2012. Here’s an example of a comic featuring Yao Ming face.


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3. Rage Face


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The rage face is the main character of rudely-drawn rage comics showing situations which bring rage and annoyance to him. The Rageguy started a series of comics known as “The rage comics”. It originated in comics with four panes, where three first panes described the situation and the fourth one showed the Rageguy himself. It started gaining popularity in June 2006 and reached its peak in December 2011. Here’s an example of a rage comic.


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4. OMG/Rage Face


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This meme is used to show a lot of feelings, from frustration, till anger. It is often accompanied with red or white text, depending on the character’s feelings. Its origins are unsure, but there is a comic which is supposed to be the first one including this meme. Here it is.


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Also, here is an example of this face expressing anger.


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This meme started gaining popularity in September 2011, quickly reaching its peak in February 2012.


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5. You don’t say?


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This meme is used to show a sarcastic response to something obvious. It was drawn from Nicolas Cage’s face in a film called “Vampire’s Kiss”. It gained popularity very quickly, starting in October 2011 and reaching the peak in March 2012. Here’s a simple example of a comic with this meme.


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6. Grumpy Cat


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This meme is a really living cat with weird facial (or snoutial?) expressions. Everything started when Tard’s (it’s the cat’s name) owner uploaded this picture into internet where it got famous insanely fast (1,030,000 views in the first 48 hours!). After that, photoshopped images of this cat with different texts appeared, entertaining the users. As we already said, the Grumpy Cat gained popularity very quickly, starting in September 2012 and reaching its peak in December 2012. Here’s an example of such photoshopped image.


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7. Forever Alone


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This meme is used to show loneliness and it is commonly used in four-paned comics, like rage comics. It is a spin-off of the Rageguy. The original “Forever alone” comic was called “April Fools” where the meme does a joke on his ex, but it works on himself, too. You’ll see this comic a bit later.

The meme started gaining its popularity in August 2012, reaching its peak in February 2012. Here’s the promised comic.


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8. Okay Guy


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Okay guy is a gloomy character which is used to show the feeling of hopeless humility. It is commonly seen in four- paned comics or in advice-animal style images. It originated on a Russian humor website, JoyReactor. Also, there is a couple of real life equivalents. Here they are.


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This meme started gaining popularity in August 2007, reaching its peak in February 2012.

Also, here is an example of an advice-animal style picture with Okay guy.


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9. Philosoraptor


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This meme is a velociraptor, thinking about different deep philosophical or scientific questions. It is used to confuse users or to make them think about something deep, too. The original Philosoraptor was just a design for a T-shirt which grew into the most thoughtful Advice Dog variation. It started gaining popularity in June 2008, reaching its peak in January 2012. Here’s an example of a Philosoraptor Advice Dog picture.


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10. Scumbag Steve


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This meme is a picture of a “cool” kid blocking a hallway. It always has a text overlay which centers around drug use, partying, drinking and unethical actions. It originated from the aforecited picture of a rapper, known as “Weezy B.”. It started gaining popularity in January 2011, reaching its peak in February 2011 (quick, huh?). Here’s an example of a Scumbag Steve pic.


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Have you recognized the memes we featured in our collection? What do you think now? Why do internet memes exist and manage to get such prompt popularity? If you want to know our standpoint, we guess, that, first of all, memes entertain people; they make them smile and raise their mood. That’s why users view them eagerly, without any coercion from anybody’s side. They control the situation and anticipate for such content as it’s sent by people they trust. So, they open the files and follow the links with positive emotions, knowing that now they will see something nice and funny. Besides, sharing a meme costs you next to nothing, so why not? Eventually, it’s a part of your social life.

If you have something interesting to add to this blog post, maybe some missed popularity tips, impressive examples of memes usage for attention grabbing or new amusing memes; we’ll appreciate your feedback in the comment section.

About the Author

Wyatt Welch is a freelance copywriter offering his stories to when he has something interesting to tell. He is always in good humor for doing things and visiting places. He never parts with his acoustic guitar, playing which always helps him to tune to the inspirational mode.

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3 Comments Top 10 Most Famous Internet Memes & Their Popularity Stories

  1. Pingback:, clicca qui e vota questo articolo!

  2. Art Dec 6, 2013 at 14:48

    It’s like a story of modern culture. Really interesting. =)

  3. Ivy Dec 13, 2013 at 14:04

    Nice article, it was interesting to read and discover some facts


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