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About

“YOLO” is an acronym for the phrase “you only live once”, which is often used as a hashtag on Twitter to bring attention to exciting events or excuse irresponsible behaviors. The acronym was popularized in 2011 after being featured in the hip hop single “The Motto” by Drake. In November 2012, the Oxford American Dictionaries included the slang term “YOLO” in its shortlist for the 2012 English Word of the Year.

Origin

The earliest known use of the acronym is attributed to Adam Mesh from the third season of the NBC reality show The Average Joe. Mesh launched the “You Only Live Once” (YOLO) clothing line on March 20th, 2004.[2]

Spread

The first Urban Dictionary[1] definition was submitted by user Colin on April 6th, 2004. The promotion website for San Francisco’s nightlife event YoloSF[5] was launched on November 10th, 2005. In July of 2006, the American indie rock band The Strokes launched a promotional campaign called “Operation YOLO” prompting fans to request their 2006 single “You Only Live Once” (shown left) on radio stations. The life coaching site YOLO Coaching[4] was registered on June 1st, 2007. On March 14th, 2008, YouTuber JCVdude uploaded a video titled “YOLO ‘you only live once’ JCV” (shown right) outlining his philosophy of living life to the fullest.

On October 4th, 2009, the weather forecast site Weather Underground[6] blogger Beachfoxx published a post titled “Friends……YOLO – You Only Live Once.” On July 27th, 2010, an infant bodysuit with the words “YOLO You Only Live Once” screenprinted on the front was submitted to the online retailer Cafe Press.[7] On December 16th, 2011, The Huffington Post published a photo of the American actor Zac Efron with “YOLO” tattooed on his right hand. A Facebook[3] page for the acronym has 3,725 likes as of March 5th, 2012.

  

The Motto

The acronym was used in the 2011 hip hop single “The Motto” by Canadian recording artist Drake featuring Lil Wayne. On October 23rd, 2011, Drake posted a tweet using the word accompanied by a photo of himself standing on a balcony.

The now defunct Twitter analytics site Trendistic reported that tweets with the keyword “yolo” rose significantly on October 24th, one day after Drake tweeted the photo from his balcony. In addition, Google Insights graph also indicates that search queries for the keyword “YOLO” began to rise drastically between October and November 2011. The song was officially released on November 29th and was followed by the official music video on February 10th, 2012. In just 21 days, the video accumulated over 450,000 views.

“Now she want a photo, you already know, though
You only live once: that’s the motto nigga, YOLO”

Criticisms

On November 29th, 2011, YouTuber iBeChucks uploaded a video (shown left) complaining about the use of the word soon after the release of Drake’s song. On February 29th, 2012, YouTuber ThisIsACommentary (shown right) uploaded a video titled “Yolo These Days” in which he criticized the word’s sudden rise in popularity and compared it to the word swag.

Notable Examples

Parodies

On June 17th, 2012, Redditor pigpen5 submitted a post titled “This is the first ad for an Anti-Yolo campaign a friend of mine is trying to start”[8], which highlighted a picture of a woman looking at a pregnancy test with the caption “Nine months from now #YOLO Just wont be as cool as you thought it was.” Within one month, the post received over 16,000 up votes and 700 comments. In the following days, the image was reposted to the viral content site Buzzfeed[10] and the Cheezburger site FAIL Blog.[9]

On June 28th, 2012, BuzzFeed[11] published a post titled "10 Phrases You Can Say Instead of “YOLO”, which included several alternative expressions with similar meanings to the acronym. On July 8th, BuzzFeed[12] published a post titled “20 Different YOLO-stragrams”, which highlighted several Instagram photos that have been tagged “#yolo.”

On July 14th, the Internet humor site Cracked[14] published a blog post titled “5 Reasons the YOLO (You Only Live Once) Meme is Wrong”, which included an infographic with fictional characters who have lived more than once. On July 20th, the New York Times[13] published a blog post titled “#YOLO”, which highlighted several tweets mocking the use of the hashtag on Twitter.

Twitter Feed

Search Interest

External References

[1]Urban Dictionary – Yolo

[2]Alexander Interactive – Yolo Clothing launches online store

[3]Facebook – Y.O.L.O

[4]YOLO Coaching – Yolo Coaching

[5]YoloSF – Yolo SF

[6]W Underground – YOLO – You Only Live Once

[7]Cafe Press – YOLO you only live once

[8]Reddit – This is the first ad for an antiyolo campaign

[9]FAIL BLog – Parenting Fails No YOLO

[10]BuzzFeed – Anti-YOLO Campaign

[11]BuzzFeed – 10 Phrases You Can Say Instead of YOLO

[12]BuzzFeed – 20 Different YOLO-stragrams

[13]New York Times – #YOLO

[14]Cracked – 5 Reasons the YOLO (You Only Live Once) Meme Is Wrong

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About

Scumbag Brain is an advice animal image macro series featuring a photo of a brain that is sometimes seen wearing the Scumbag Steve hat, with captions that describe self-conflicting psychological experiences like sudden realizations, awkward dreams and persistent memories. The situations presented are similar to Oh God Why rage comics.

Origin

The earliest known Scumbag Brain image macro was posted to the suicide support r/suicidewatch subreddit in a thread titled “Fucking Scumbag Brain”[1] by Redditor Jackist on March 24th, 2011, received only 198 upvotes prior to being archived.

Spread

Compilations of the series were posted to the humor blog Pleated Jeans[8] on July 21st, 2011 and to the viral content site BuzzFeed[7] on August 9th, 2011. On October 10th, 2011, the web comic site The Oatmeal[9] published a comic titled “If my brain were an imaginary friend” that featured an annoying brain that is able to remember complex information from several years ago, but cannot remember where it put a set of car keys. A single-topic blog, ScumbagBrain.org[10] was created in March 2012. The same month a series of instances was featured on PopHangover.[12]

Additional derivatives can be found on Memebase[5], Tumblr[4] and Reddit[11], where there are more than 3800 instances. A Memegenerator[3] page has received 280 submissions, the Quickmeme[2] page has received more than 20,000 submissions and a Facebook[6] fan page has accumulated 203 likes as of May 2012.

Notable Examples

Search Interest

Search queries for “scumbag brain” began rising in July of 2011, the same month the Quickmeme page was created.

External References

[1] Reddit r/suicidewatch – F*cking Scumbag Brain

[2] QuickMeme – Scumbag Brain

[3] memegenerator.net – Scumbag Brain\

[4] Tumblr – #scumbag brain

[5] Memebase – scumbag brain

[6] Facebook – Scumbag Brain

[7] BuzzFeed – The 25 Best Of The Scumbag Brain Meme

[8] Pleated Jeans – The Best of the Scumbag Brain Meme

[9] The Oatmeal – If my brain were an imaginary friend

[10] ScumbagBrain.org – Home

[11] Reddit – Scumbag Brain search results

[12] Pophangover – Scumbag Brain Meme

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About

“The Song of My People” is a catchphrase typically associated image macros and animated GIFs in which the subject is singing, shouting or playing a musical instrument.

Origin

On July 11th, 2007, a photograph of a loin-clothed street musician playing the violin was submitted to 4chan with the caption reading “I shall sing you the song of my people."

Percursors

The phrase “I should like to teach you the dance of my people” was featured in a collection of East African fairy tales published in 1913.[11] In the story “The Warrior and the Irimo,” a warrior is captured by an enemy tribe and offers to dance for them:

While the fire was being made the warrior said, “I am tired of life as all my companions have been killed, so am quite willing to die. Before you kill me, however, I should like to teach you the dance of my people.” The Irimo were very pleased, as they were fond of learning new dances, and agreed that he should dance to them.

One of the earliest instances of the phrase “the song of my people” was featured in the 1977 British comedy film Carry on at Your Convenience,[7] according to a post on the Q&A website ChaCha[6] on December 6th, 2010.

Spread

On July 3rd, 2008, Flickr[1] user beerorkid uploaded an image macro of a man in his underwear playing a flute, with the caption reading “I shall play you the song of my people” (shown below, left). On January 18th, 2009, Yahoo Answers[12] user hyungiskim submitted a request in search of an image macro with the description fitting Flickr user beerorkid’s image. During the 2010 World Cup tournament in South Africa, the expression became widely used to caption photographs of local spectators and supporters using loud traditional stadium horns called “vuvuzelas” (shown below, right).

On November 15th, 2011, FunnyJunk[13] user tonlynx uploaded a photoshopped GIF of a spider playing the bongos with the caption “I shall play you / the song of my people” (shown below, left ). On June 1st, 2012, a compilation of “songs of my people” image macros was featured on the viral content site BuzzFeed.[14] On July 25th, the Cheezburger site Memebase[15] posted an animated GIF titled “Let Me Play You The Song of my People,” which featured dancing characters from the animated television show King of the Hill (shown below, right)

Notable Examples

Additional examples can be found on Tumblr under the tag “the song of my people.”[2]

Derivative: The Dance of My People

“The dance of my people” is a variation of the phrase used to caption image macros in which the subject is posing or flailing in an awkward manner.


Search Interest

External References

[1]Flickr – I-shall-play-you-the-song-of-my-people

[2]Tumblr – The song of my people

[3]LOL.com – The song of my people

[4]Mononail – The song of my people

[5]Icanhascheezburger – The song of my people

[6]ChaCha – Where did the quote ‘Let me play for you the song of my people’ come from?

[7]Internet Movie Database – Carry on at Your Convenience

[8]Early example – The Chocolate Rain thread.

[9]Scribd – The 1913 document.

[10]PDF via JSTOR – The 1913 document (Requires password)

[11]Archive.org – Man

[12]Yahoo – Does anyone know the

[13]FunnyJunk – The song of my people

[14]BuzzFeed – 10 Most Annoying Songs of My People

[15]Cheezburger – Let Me Play You The Song of my People

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