In 2018, teens attempted to eat laundry pods in a dangerous online challenge, the Yanny and Laurel debate tore the internet apart, the Baby Shark Dance officially became a global phenomenon, and more of 2018’s most viral stories:
1. Teens Tried The Tide Pod Challenge
A 2015 meme morphed into a dangerous online challenge where teens attempted/pretended to eat laundry pods this year. Reportedly inspired by a 2015 column from The Onion about a “child who wanted to eat a blue and red detergent pod,” the meme started out as a showcase of jokes on how the pods resembled candy. In March 2017, CollegeHumor took the trend one step further with a parody video showing a college student eating Tide Pods even after researching its poisonous effects—and then teens started following suit, posting videos of themselves chewing on the colorful pods (before spitting them out) or sautéing them on the stove. The challenge went so viral that doctors sent out warnings, and even Tide had to respond stating: “Our laundry pacs are a highly concentrated detergent meant to clean clothes…They should not be played with, whatever the circumstance is, even if meant as a joke.” If the warnings weren’t enough, never fear, actual Tide pod-inspired sushi is also here.
2. Yanny and Laurel Tore the Internet Apart
“What do you hear? Yanny or Laurel.” This seemingly simple question posted alongside an audio clip by social media influencer Cloe Feldman this week tore the internet apart, even surpassing 2015’s #TheDress debate. Claiming to clearly hear one word or the other, #TeamYanny and #TeamLaurel grew in numbers and brands joined in on the viral discussion: On Twitter, Warby Parker introduced their optical addition, #Yanny in Tea Rose Fade, Sony posted a picture of headphones with the caption, “Hear so much more than “yanny” or “laurel” with these,” and Captain Morgan tweeted “Laurel? Yanny? All I hear is Captain.” Experts have explained that the enigmatic audio clip can sound different depending on the frequency or pitch. It has also been revealed that the clip originally comes from Vocabulary.com’s recording for the word “laurel” (sorry #TeamYanny).
3. Kids (And Millennial Parents) Couldn’t Stop Doing The Baby Shark Dance
“Baby shark, doo doo doo doo doo doo!” If you’ve heard it, you know what we’re talking about, and probably still haven’t gotten it out of your head. Millennial parents and their kids couldn’t stop watching the catchy Baby Shark Dance this year—a video from SmartStudy’s Pinkfong brand that debuted in 2015, and went viral across Southeast Asia sometime in 2017, according to Forbes. Finally, the video gt its turn in the U.S., where Google searches for “baby shark” and “baby shark dance” steadily rose throughout the year. The original YouTube video accrued over two billion views—yes, we said billion. The song has spawned tons of remixes, like a trap (trance rap) remix video with over three million views and this choreographed dance with over two million views on YouTube and 25 million on Facebook. Oh, and there’s merchandise too. This isn’t the only baby shark spiking the search results, either. The straight-out-of Finding Nemo saga of a shark’s stroller ride out of the aquarium also caught the internet’s attention.
4. Snapchat’s Redesign Triggered An Outcry
Speaking of things you probably shouldn’t mess with, Snapchat’s recent update is getting a less than positive response—and that’s putting it lightly. In an effort to separate friends’ posts from publishers’ content, the social platform beloved by teens underwent a massive redesign that took many users back to square one in relearning how to use the app. Although most social network updates experience some backlash, the revolt against Snapchat is setting new precedents: according to LikeFolio, almost 80% of tweets about Snapchat are currently negative, a fake tweet stating Snapchat will reverse the update in exchange for retweets garnered 1.3 million retweets making it the sixth most retweeted tweet of all time, and a petition on Change.org has surpassed one million signatures. Despite the outcry, it seems the social network has no plans to go back, with CEO Evan Spiegel stating, “it’ll take time for people to adjust.”
5. Walmart’s 10-Year-old Yodeler Broke The Internet
A 10-year-old yodeled his way into the hearts of many, inspiring countless remixes and capturing the attention of high-profile DJs. Mason Ramsey, an aspiring country singer, was brought into the limelight when a video of him yodeling “Lovesick Blues” for customers at his local Walmart was posted to Twitter. The original tweet has been liked over 180,000 times and has been retweeted over 50,000 times, becoming a meme and prompting many to declare their newfound appreciation for yodeling. It also inspired myriad remixes—one of which has over 400,000 likes—and prompted DJs like The Chainsmokers, Steve Aoki, and Marshmello to chime in. Then there’s also the imitators who are got their “Lovesick Blues” on at their local Walmarts.
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