We will remember 2023 as a year of viral events.
As social media algorithms become more precise, the road to internet stardom has become anything but linear.
This year, social media consumers were subjected to an array of viral trends, ranging from perfectly scripted to absolutely unhinged.
Take a look back at some of the virtually unforgettable moments from 2023 that had everyone talking.
When a Chinese spy balloon was spotted over the United States in the beginning of 2023, the internet blew up.
Videos of users superimposing their faces onto the balloon and dramatizing the moment the U.S. Air Force shot down the object went viral across all platforms, making light of a situation that shook the country.
A trend of social media users taking to the web to poke fun at serious news stories continues to become more prevalent as more Americans turn to online platforms for their news.
Purple shake of death
Happy Birthday, Grimace – sort of.
In June, McDonald’s debuted a berry-flavored birthday shake to celebrate the purple mascot’s special day. But the sweetness quickly turned sour after TikTokers started playfully alleging that the mystery-flavored treat was killing them.
Videos began flooding the hashtag #grimaceshake with a whopping 3.9 billion views showing TikTokers consuming the dessert, only to end up on the floor in a puddle of purple.
As the Romans do
The hope for internet fame has seeped its way into even the most unsuspecting viral stars, with videos encouraging creators to quiz their family and friends and recording their genuine reaction.
Dubbed the “Roman Empire trend,” girlfriends turned to TikTok to ask their partners how often they think of ancient civilization.
The results were shocking, with videos suggesting some men actually think of the Roman Empire quite often.
The current “Name a Woman” trend has ladies across the internet ambushing the men in their lives, asking them to name a woman — any woman.
Creators swear that the answers given speak volumes about the man’s personality, with viewers rushing to the comment sections to dissect each response.
308 million Americans are on social media in 2023
I’m sorry, full send
Social media has provided celebrities with the ability to directly address fans, giving them the opportunity to personally celebrate achievements, announce life updates and, in some cases, apologize.
Hollywood and internet celebrities who found themselves in hot water in 2023 often took to their social media platforms to speak to their fans themselves.
Actors Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis posted a lengthy apology video to Kutcher’s Instagram account in September, addressing backlash from their support of disgraced “That ’70s Show” co-star Danny Masterson.
Lookin’ like a snack
Is it a snack? Is it a meal? No, it’s a Girl Dinner.
The bite-sized smorgasbord captured our hearts — and stomachs — with its impressive versatility and low-maintenance approach.
Women across the internet were showing off their colorful charcuterie boards, dotted with a bit of bread, a pinch of cheese and anything else they had in their cabinets. The more outrageous, the better.
In their livestream era
Millions of fans went to battle over the hottest concert tickets of 2023.
Those who came up empty were given a second chance to watch on livestreams shared throughout social media platforms.
14% of adults admit they get their news on TikTok
Fans enjoyed Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour or Beyoncé’s Renaissance Tour from the comfort of their homes by watching live videos streamed from those at the shows, encouraging real-time reactions and allowing for a global watch party.