This is an excerpt from Please Like Me, BuzzFeed News’ newsletter about how influencers are battling for your attention. You can sign up here.
This week I’ve been editing the 32 Most Defining Memes of 2021, our annual opus by Julia Reinstein (and this year cowritten with our own Ikran Dahir), and it’s made me reflect on this year of internet culture.
Instagram turned into photo dumps — dozens of carefully curated photos of and by people pretending they were not carefully curating their lives — and “adding yours” to whatever is the prompt of the day. Audio also continued to dominate, whether it was Twitter’s attempt to rip off Clubhouse with Twitter Spaces or Hinge adding an audio feature to profiles (wild) or just how certain sounds took over TikTok and our brains for weeks on end. We wanted to look expensive and not cheugy and break our story into multiple videos to make sure everyone followed us.
Each person lives on their own internet — with their own communities, interests, memes, influencers, and aesthetics — and so I wanted to share some of my personal faves from my 2021 internet with you:
- Scotch and Vodka on TikTok
- People sharing their most humiliating moments with the Tyra Banks “It’s so bad I want to give you a zero” audio from America’s Next Top Model
- Everyone’s vaccine selfies
- Adele yelling “divorce, babe, divorce” on an Instagram Live about her new album.
- Buying a Facebook Portal Go for my nephews for Christmas (they love the alien filter)
- Downloading and then deleting the Peloton app
- Carmen and Lupita on TikTok
- Intimate newsletters where people share their favorite things
- AOC’s emotional Insta Live after the insurrection
- Mattea acting like a foolish girl to see the reaction from her queer sister Makaela
- Chanel Miller’s beautiful and heartbreaking illustrations on Instagram
- Alok’s amazing #degenderfashion outfits
- Thirst posts by @cptruths, a hottie athlete with cerebral palsy
- Using Instagram locations to research travel spots and hotels
- Hearing people tell stories on TikTok in that super fast and overly descriptive way
- Using Strava to see my running improve
- Kim Kardashian passing the baby bar exam and posting an incredible photo shoot of herself
- @Meicrosoft creating wild makeup looks with her shaved head
- Comedian Grace Kuhlenschmidt sending up influencer clichés
- Group chats in Insta DMs between friends who don’t know each other in real life (got a new one happening with over a dozen pals to do Yoga With Adriene’s Move, which starts tomorrow)
- The “I ain’t never been with a baddie” dance
- Vax Daddy getting everyone in NYC vaccine appointments (yes that was this year)
- Celebs such as Viola Davis acting like huge boomers by posting Facebook-style memes on Instagram
And before you light the sparklers and pop the champagne to welcome in 2022, please take a moment to fill out our reader survey. We’ve been reading all the responses so far and have loved learning about your thoughts for Please Like Me moving forward.
Happy New Year,