If the last decade of internet culture can be represented by one thing it is the meme – the endless remixing and sharing of content online, usually in the form of images.
One place where this is most apparent is on image sharing site Imgur. Originally a simple hosting platform and a sister site to Reddit, Imgur has taken on a life of its own with a unique and extremely large userbase.
It’s this userbase, as prompted by the operators of the site, who have decided which meme is their favourite from the past 10 years.
The winner, from two thousand nominations, is Hide The Pain Harold. This exploitable set of images is a stock photo session based on Hungarian man András Arató which has been passed around since early in the decade (2011, apparently).
Those nominations were whittled down into just 10 which Imgur users voted on over 72 hours.
54 768 votes came in with Hide The Pain Harold claiming 20 percent of them to walk away the winner. Second place was ANewBadlyPhotoshoppedPhotoofMichaelCeraEveryday with 18.2 percent and This is fine in third with 16.1 percent.
It’s worth speaking briefly here about that extremely long username which claimed the silver. This is a more Imgur-specific joke consisting of said user, as the name would imply, inserting Micheal Cera into new images every single day.
This user is actually from South Africa, and we interviewed him back in 2016 when he was actively posting every single day. The account now only posts occasionally, making the appearance of Photoshopped Michael Cera something of an event on Imgur.
Imgur taking the time to organise this vote is a bit special because many internet communities were arguing over a similar idea as 2019 was coming to a close. While Imgur may not be a Facebook or even as big as Reddit, it is a very sizeable community whose opinion is a good representation of the internet overall.
It’s a joke unto itself that historians will need to decipher old memes years in the future to try and work out what the hell we’ve been posting about online now, so maybe this vote will be a footnote in a very weird textbook eventually.