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Hilarious, Ridiculous or Simply Marvellous? (The top 6 viral trends of this decade)

The 21st century has certainly started off as something of a whirlwind.

With the rise of social media that’s become a platform for nearly everything today, there have been a lot of iconic viral moments bringing together people from different countries and cultural backgrounds through the internet in this decade-long journey.

If there’s one thing that’s stayed consistent throughout this time of maddeningly fast evolution, it’s the existence of these online trends. Since the word ‘viral’ became a lingo to describe something spreading faster than plague across the social network, internet fads have become inescapable.

So, here’s an article dedicated to the most viral trends of this decade(s). Happy International Youth Day y’all!

  1. The Kiki Challenge-

People were falling into potholes, getting their handbags stolen and even getting hit by moving cars (most expected), but that was not discouraging others from trying out the Kiki dance challenge that had the law force agencies across the world eating their hair out.

Why? Because the challenge involved people getting out of their moving cars and dancing alongside it to Drake’s hit song “In My Feelings” while being filmed.

It started off with a video of the internet comedian Shiggy dancing to the song that first went viral, followed by Will Smith and Ciara’s own videos. (SHOCKER PLOT TWIST: None of the above celebrities were filmed jumping out of moving cars. That was a development made all on its own by this generation’s creative and vivid imaginations.)

This challenge was not the safest thing to do, but since when has that stopped the general population from trying out the most ludicrous things, as long as it helps them get a few thousand views and likes?

Caption: There’s a lot more where that came from.

  1. The Ice Bucket Challenge-

This was probably one of the few well-intentioned online challenges created for a good cause that aimed to spread awareness about ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) or Lou Gehrig’s disease, by pouring a bucket of ice water over oneself and (of course) taking a video while doing it.

Originating in 2014, more than 17 million people across the world participated in the challenge including Barack Obama and Bill Gates. The idea went viral after professional golfer Greg Norman nominated news anchor Matt Lauer to the challenge.

The campaign finally raised over $115 million for the ALS association in the summer, but unfortunately, the inspiration behind the challenge - Pete Frates - passed away of the illness in 2019 after struggling with it for 7 years.

Caption: Bill Gates doing the challenge

  1. Planking-

Planking was probably one of the hardest yet hilarious challenges that required one to lie face down on the floor with their palms flat against their sides and feet together pointing downwards. The challenge became viral after people started posting pictures of themselves doing it in the most unusual places.

Its origin came from Sam Weckert, who started planking in 2008 when two of his friends and him began doing the “worm” dance, a breakdancing move popularised in the 1980s at local bars. (At this point, I’ve learnt not to question the origin of all these internet trends. Some of them can be extremely scarring.)

This viral moment was truly hard to miss, but I’m sure many of us are definitely glad to leave this in the past.


  1. Gangnam style-

The year 2012 was certainly something. A worrying number of people (including me, I’m ashamed to say. But in my defence, I was 5 years old!) truly believed that the world was going to end that year. Yet an even greater worrying number of people believed a conspiracy theory connecting a South Korean artist’s music video (Psy’s Gangnam Style if you haven’t already guessed it) to Nostradamus’ doomsday prediction (I assure you, at least this, I did NOT believe); according to which, the world would end if the music video received a billion views - hence marking the popular date ‘December 12th, 2012’ in this century’s history.

This video broke the internet with Psy’s slick dance moves and a weird catchy tune that got billions of people dancing to it worldwide (and a billion views in just 5 months!). Riding an invisible horse never looked so appealing but now it’s a move anyone on the dance floor would recognise.

Caption: The official video

  1. Harlem shake-

Internet. Meme. Video. Combine the three and you’ll probably think of the 2013 Harlem Shake. Memes took to viral video format with this new kind of trend that evolved to become an internet sensation started by the YouTuber Filthy Frank to Baauer’s song.

Start with a person dancing on their own in a room full of oblivious, seemingly normal people. Then, let the beat drop and cut to the same room of people now dressed up in costumes or holding props while dancing (more like flopping and flailing about) and absolutely losing it - that’s what you call a Harlem Shake.

The viral internet meme’s success can be attributed to its jump cuts, quick setups and thirty-second routines.

Caption: The original Harlem Shake

  1. Fidget spinner-

A toy so popular that it was banned in most schools, fidget spinners graced human civilization in the year 2017.

Originally marketed as a toy to help with focusing or relieving nervous energy, anxiety and psychological stress, sometimes it even went as far as claiming to help people with other neurological diseases like ADHD and autism. Despite the lack of any scientific evidence on its effectiveness, the toy grew in popularity such that at one point, it accounted for 17 per cent of all daily toy sales in the US.

Although it’s unknown who exactly invented the fidget spinners (as it’s not confirmed that Catherine Hattinger was the original creator), they will always represent this decade as a time of newfound strength and acceptance among teenagers suffering from anxiety.

Caption: I’m speechless…

The above six trends are arguably some of the most viral trends of the past decade, but not all. Trends like flossing (just plain insanity), dabbing (which, in the eternal words of my friend, is more like a 'rite of passage for tweens'), twerking (go Miley Cyrus!), gallon smashing (it’s hilarious, refer to this link if you want:, the cup song (one of my personal favourites), mannequin challenge (love this too;, Charlie Charlie challenge (who hasn’t tried this?), and bottle flipping (been there, done that) honestly took the internet by storm and marked the beginning of a new era for us Gen Z.




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