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February 23 2014

February 07 2014

Olympic Ring Fails in First Minutes of Opening Ceremony

Folks, we have the first Olympics fail of the opening ceremony.

An oversized Olympic ring failed to illuminate during the early moments of the ceremony, leaving a sad snowflake where the fifth ring should have been.



Those able to watch the festivities live (sorry, America) hit Twitter to take a jab at the mishap.

Epic fail during @Sochi2014 #OpeningCeremony..pic.twitter.com/CCCr8ikdWr

— Daily_Express (@Daily_Express) February 7, 2014

Looks like $51 billion only gets you 4 out of 5 Olympic Rings! #FAIL . Good luck to all taking part #Sochi2014 pic.twitter.com/lxiDg2CDTF

— Eamo (@eamonharbison) February 7, 2014

More about Olympics, Weird, Watercooler, Pics, and Sports

February 05 2014

Put Some Clothes On, Creepy Sleepwalker Statue

This may be the last thing you'd want to bump into on a walk home from the campus library.

A sculpture of an underwear-clad sleepwalking man was recently installed at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, and has left students seriously creeped out with its lifelike appearance. Sculptor Tony Matelli created the nearly-nude statue, titled "Sleepwalker," as part of an ongoing exhibition at the school's Davis Museum, according to The Boston Globe.

Man in Underwear Statue

Image: AP Photo/Steven Senne/Associated Press

Not long after the sculpture's installation on Feb. 3, hundreds of students on the all-women's campus signed a petition to remove the art piece. Read more...

More about Art, Wtf, Weird, Us, and Watercooler

January 08 2014

CES Is Just a Disguise for Companies to Be Really Weird

You're bound to see a wide range of products at International CES: ones that are hitting shelves this year, prototypes that may be years away from becoming realities, and inspiring keynotes and conversations that could change the way you look at technology.

Then, there's the weird stuff at CES. Like any nerd fest, the conference not only packs innovative technology into a convention center in Las Vegas, but also delivers on some of the most eye-catching — or simply odd — experiences you may ever see.

If you’re at CES and come across something that seems just plain weird, take a photo or record a Vine or Instagram video and tag it with the hashtag #weirdCES. We’ll be collecting some of your images and videos into the RebelMouse page below to show the world just how odd (and awesome) CES can be. Read more...

More about Technology, Tech, Ces, Weird, and Dev Design

December 27 2013

11 Bizarre Gifts You Didn't Get This Year

Now that all the wrapping paper is put away, it's time to reflect on all the lovely things your family and friends got you for the holidays this year. But you probably didn't get any of these amazing finds

From the adorable to the truly bizarre, the Internet has been showing off all its presents — and we found the best ones.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

Homepage Image: Imgur, Kaldea

More about Holidays, Lists, Christmas, Funny, and Weird

December 07 2013

This Crazy Cat Litter Ad Is Just Meow-tlandish

The Dutch ad company that came up with this video might not be on-point when it comes to pop culture timelines, but they do get points for committing to absurdity.

And let's be fair, promoting a disposable litter box is no easy task — but the 'Poopy Cat Dolls' do it with style.

Parodying the now-defunct pop group The Pussycat Dolls, this musical ad shows the sassy side of five cats begging for a better litter option. The ad doesn't go into the benefits of disposable vs. stationary litter boxes, but we don't care

We'll take six for our cats at home, please. Read more...

More about Advertising, Viral Videos, Cats, Cute Animals, and Weird
Lazy People Turn Cute in Sloth Flipover T-Shirt

Product name: Sloth Flipover Shirt
Price: $18.99
Who would like this?: T-shirt collectors, sloth fanatics, lazy fashionistas, Kristen Bell

Don't try stuffing a sloth in a stocking by the fireplace this year. Instead, choose a gift just as adorable, but that won't crawl up your Christmas tree and poop on your gifts.

The Sloth Flipover T-Shirt combines the charm of the cute creature with the comfort of cotton. (And doesn't require figuring out how to put a big red bow on a wild animal.) The front of the shirt reads "Ask Me Why I'm Lazy" — a perfect conversation starter — and flips up to cover your head in a sloth face. Seriously, if you've never kicked off chitchat by lifting your shirt to reveal the Internet's favorite slow-moving tree mammal, you don't know how to correctly make friends. Read more...

More about Clothing, Weird, Memes, Lifestyle, and Gift Of The Day

October 24 2013

The 21 Weirdest Twitter Accounts

It's difficult to explain the community — or rather, the disorganized group of strangeness — that has been dubbed "Weird Twitter." Put simply, it's a growing collection of Twitter profiles that use the social network to promote their absurd breed of comedy. But simple explanations don't really cut it here.

The difficulty in labeling these accounts stems in part from the nature of the club itself: a group of tweeters, all irreverently, cripplingly hilarious, but all entirely against being labeled in the first place. Some, such as Jose Canseco, likely aren't even aware of their participation in the group at all. They are, in short, the opposite of normal. Read more...

More about Twitter, Features, Funny, Weird, and Who To Follow

September 05 2013

The Wildly Bizarre Song of the Fall Has Arrived

Get out of the way, Gaga, because a Norwegian duo wants the title for the song of the fall, and it might be weird enough to work.

Bård Ylvisåker and Vegard Ylvisåker, known collectively as Ylvis, took the "What does this animal say?" game you played as a baby, and turned it into a totally bizarre, yet surprisingly catchy song.

Maybe it's the production value of the music video. Maybe it's the catchy, David Guetta-level beat. Or maybe it's the made up fox noises on the chorus. Regardless, "The Fox" music video will leave you weirded out and tapping your foot at the same time Read more...

More about Viral Videos, Music, Wtf, Weird, and Watercooler

July 05 2013

10 Weird Japanese Products That Are Actually Kind of Useful

Japan has a reputation for producing some downright weird stuff

In fact, the word "chindogu" even refers to inventions that are technically practical, but utterly eccentric in their execution. These products are so bizarre, they're not actually meant to be produced

But many questionably useful Japanese products actually exist in circulation, and we're defending some of the "strange" ones. Sure, they may be a bit excessive — but useless? Not quite

1. Banana Keeper

banana holder case daiso

Image courtesy of Daiso

Have you ever experienced a squished banana at the bottom of your bag? Not fun. Not fun at all. Read more...

More about Lists, Japan, Humor, Weird, and Weird Stuff

May 16 2013

Screaming Arm Wrestler Will Haunt Your Eardrums

At the 2013 European Arm Wrestling Championships, one competitor relied on more than just her biceps to intimidate an opponent

A competitor from Lithuania used eardrum-shattering yells and horror movie-style faces in a fierce bout with an arm wrestler from the Ukraine. The woman's unusual technique couldn't help her get an upper hand — err, arm — in the tournament, but she might at least have a future on the Internet.

Now you have the perfect reaction GIF for the next time you want to tell your coworkers "Darn skippy, suckers." You're welcome, GIFers.

Image courtesy of YouTube, drogennews

More about Viral Videos, Weird, Gifs, Watercooler, and Videos

June 21 2010

9 Universal Principles of Viral Media Sites

Ian Spector is the creator of Chuck Norris Facts. His latest book, “Chuck Norris Cannot Be Stopped: 400 All-New Facts About the Man Who Knows Neither Fear Nor Mercy” is now in bookstores everywhere. He is currently working on two startups and provides web strategy consulting services. Follow him on Twitter.

There’s a good chance that you’ve come across the word ‘meme’ at some point or another in the past few years. It’s an arcane academic concept but at the same time it’s also one of those things that you can identify, but can’t describe easily. Richard Dawkins coined the phrase in an effort to help explain cultural evolution in his 1976 book, “The Selfish Gene,” where it’s defined as a shared element intended to be passed around within a culture, a societal analog to a gene. Everything from Tamagotchis to “That’s what she said” count as memes. On the Internet, memes are more visible than ever before, and what’s more, they’re also serious business.

Now, even though it may not be immediately apparent, there are a number of universal qualities that all successful viral memes have in common.

1. Content is Everything

On the Internet, content is everything. It’s what will make or break a site. Why would anyone want to go to a website if there’s nothing interesting or entertaining to see? Visitors will flock to your creation so long as you consistently feed users good content that’s appropriately presented and packaged.

There are two major types of content: great original content (Stuff White People Like, The Landlord from Funny Or Die) and curated, user-generated content (Regretsy, FAILblog).

This may read like a page from the Book of ‘Duh’, but play to your strengths. For instance, if you’re not a fan of writing a whole lot, don’t start a long-form, text-heavy blog, and stick to editing incoming user-generated content.

2. Simplicity

“Going viral necessitates a universal understanding of the joke,” says Lauren Leto, co-founder of Texts from Last Night. “There’s a reason commentary on quantum physics doesn’t pull the attention of the masses, but a joke about a cat stuck in a box does – because it’s a quick laugh. The easier to digest, the more people will forward the content around.”

Beyond the content, your site should be simple to interact with as well. We all know that every type of person is on the web now, so by designing a simple, elegant, and intuitive site for users, as well as administrators, may save you a lot of headaches down the road.

Sometimes you don’t even need to build something fancy and custom yourself. This Is Why You’re Fat runs off of Tumblr, which is a great platform for testing out whether or not the public will eat up your idea, and also has integrated sharing features which is helpful for growth. Depending on what your project is, you may not need to expand beyond it, but if you do, the next step up would be a service like Wordpress, which affords the administrator more customized options. You can always build your own site, but that can often be time and cash-intensive.

3. Emote

The brain is very good at making associations. If your content is able to get people to respond emotionally, get people to laugh and enjoy themselves, you’re gold. That emotional connection serves as a sort of glue, binding the association between your content or site and enjoyment and with each exposure to entertaining, funny, or otherwise emotionally provocative content, that association between “your site” and “totally amazing” becomes stronger and stronger.

Here’s a quick case study: According to my network of unnamed spies, there are two groups of people who seem to be drawn to LOLCats. The first are people who just find it funny. The other group is made up of the passionate folks perhaps better known as “crazy cat ladies.” Their overwhelming love of cats drives them to spend time on the site as well as to spend money on the books that are available now as well. Think about that.

One of the biggest emotional hooks is empathy, which is where the success from sites like Awkward Family Photos and Shit My Dad Says come from. We’ve all got our own awkward family portraits, and we’ve all heard our parents say ridiculous things. White people will laugh at themselves reading Stuff White People Like, while non-white people will gladly laugh at the ironically accurate absurdity of “the definitive guide to the unique tastes of millions.” Note how race and family are some big-picture concepts. There’s lots of potential material in those spaces to play with, which can get users to respond to easily.

4. Own Your Space

What do sites like Texts from Last Night, Urban Dictionary, My Mom is a Fob, and FML have in common? They’re all masters of their own space.

They’re original concepts unattached to any other properties, and by virtue of that, their owners can do things like make T-shirts, produce iPhone and iPad apps, and even develop TV shows (Shit My Dad Says landed a TV deal with CBS not too long ago and its slated to star William Shatner).

Then there are a those other sites that are inherently related to some third party “black box.” Sometimes that third party has no problem with what you’re doing (Remember Rick Astley Rickrolling the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?), sometimes they do. Avoid any potential messes by working on something completely unique and independent.

5. Share It

As with all things on the ever-growing social web, memes live and die by the ability to share content. If your content isn’t bite-sized and isn’t surrounded by some controls to share: Like, Tweet, Stumble, Digg, or something else, you’re doing something wrong.

“Your content should be instantly identifiable no matter where it ends up on the web,” says Ben Bator, co-founder of Texts From Last Night. “Humorous material is meant to be shared, so don’t limit the possibilities.”

My personal favorite sharing control is the “share by e-mail” function found on ICanHasCheezburger. Remember how crazy cat ladies love that stuff? Guess what else they love to do – that’s right, forward everyone they know those pictures, so why not have that right on the site? Brilliant, though unfortunate for the rest of us.

If you’re using a blogging service like Wordpress or Tumblr, make sure that that sharing via third party services (Facebook, Twitter) as well as controls like AddThis are enabled.

At the launch of your project, you should also make sure that there are appropriate avenues for discussion, sharing, and fandom on third party services. Get yourself a Facebook Fan page, add certain pages to Stumble Upon, register appropriate Twitter handles, and popularize the hashtags you want to use. Being in control of your content outside of your site is important.

6. Protect Your Content

Because you’re working on the Internet, there’s a good chance that your content will spill out everywhere besides your website. Set Google Alerts for your site’s name and even for popular content (if it’s text-based) so that you can be alerted to copycat websites or apps.

You should have an attorney send any copycat sites cease and desist notices immediately to the owners of those sites. You don’t absolutely need an attorney to do this for you, but you’re usually guaranteed better results. Most copycats will stop immediately once they hear from you if you’ve done the job properly.

In addition, you should protect yourself from potentially angry users by creating a bulletproof “Terms of Service” page. “[It] should be the first page you complete. Make your intentions clear, otherwise you will just piss off your users (and possibly lose out on a book deal),” says Bator. Unless you’re an oracle, it’s unlikely that you know what direction your site will follow as it grows.

“Launch with a broad but legit terms of service and take it from there,” suggests Jessica Amason, co-creator of This Is Why You’re Fat and Viral Media Editor at BuzzFeed.

7. Listen

The only reason Chuck Norris Facts exist is because I asked the visitors to my site what they wanted to see. I had started my site with “Vin Diesel Facts” and after getting a few million hits and some mentions in the press, I put up a poll to ask visitors who the site should include next. The rest is history.

Don’t necessarily crowdsource your major decisions to your users since you probably don’t know or trust them that well, but it’s just as much their site as it is yours to a certain extent. Users/members ought to have a say in things, if only to let you know if you’re going in the right direction.

8. Don’t Force It

There’s a good chance you’ve heard this phrase in one context or another. Most memes seem to start and grow organically — their successes are a result of good content, stellar execution, and everything else previously mentioned. It’s really hard to work backwards.

Some people in the meme-machine world will actually start a large number of sites per year, expect most of them to fail, and just support the ones that take off. Others think that because they may have succeeded with one meme that they will be guaranteed success with their next venture. The best example of this in recent memory is follow-up project that the creator of the Million Dollar Homepage started after he finished making his million bucks. The man made a million dollars. Anyone in his shoes probably thought that the next move, whatever it might be, would be golden, but it was a total flop.

But hey, expect to make mistakes. You learn more from them anyway.

9. Love it, and Let it Go

All memes reach a point when their 15 minutes are up and the traffic levels off to die-hard fanatics, and a relatively constant stream of new visitors who come and go. As with all things in life, make sure you love what you’re doing. There’s a lot of work involved with running these things. I had to review thousands and thousands of submissions at my site’s peak. It’s hardly fun, especially knowing you’re on a ticking clock.

Also, be sure to consider the implications of being the face of your meme. The people who seem to be into it the meme I created most right now are annoying frat guys who spend their days “icing” their “bros,” and that’s not necessarily a group that I want to call myself the leader of. Sure, it’s great that so many people from around the world have enjoyed what I’m responsible for, but at the end of the day, it’s pretty ridiculous.

What are some of your favorite Internet memes? Tell us in the comments below.

For more social media coverage, follow Mashable Social Media on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook

More Social Media Resources from Mashable:

- 4 Tips for Producing Quality Web Videos
- HOW TO: Make a Great How-To Video
- 10 Killer Tips for Creating a Branded YouTube Channel
- Top 10 YouTube Tips for Small Businesses
- HOW TO: Boost Your SEO with a YouTube Channel

Image courtesy of icanhascheezburger

Tags: blog meme, chuck norris, facebook, funny, humor, internet meme, lol cat, Meme, pop culture, strange, tumblr, twitter, viral video, weird, youtube

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