Many year-end internet “best of” lists are released during December and January. They’re always interesting reads, and inevitably a couple of things on each list will be new to me. I can never shake the feeling that I’d be much better off knowing about everything on the lists as they occurred and not at the end of the year. This holds especially true with internet memes and viral content – learning about them weeks after can be a missed marketing or PR opportunity (for example, how travel brands lost a chance to partner with Where the Hell is Matt? thanks to Stride Gum), or at the very least a chance to impress your friends with your internet savvy.
Blogs and websites like Mashable and TechCrunch are great for keeping up to date on the latest internet, technology and social media news, but they only latch onto the biggest viral content (like the Old Spice guy or Ted Williams). However, by that time everyone knows about it. Here is a list of websites that can help you keep up with (and keep track of) viral content as they happen:
An often updated website whose goal is to document internet phenomena. If you only take a look at one of these sites, this is the one. It’s the closest thing to you’ll find to an encyclopedia of viral content.
A blog that covers viral and social trends from a business-oriented perspective. Be sure to check out their Viral Friday posts, a round-up of the week’s most impactful viral videos.
An online dictionary of slang words and phrases. If a pal at work sends you a link that’s NSFW and you have no idea what those four letters stand for, this would be the time to use Urban Dictionary. You can also use their “Word of the Day” and “Word of the Year” features to keep up to date on the latest trends.
A blog “dedicated to the scientific study of gadgets, gizmos, and awesome.” They’ll often find viral content before mainstream media picks up on it.
A timeline of internet and pop-culture phenomena. It even goes way back to 1979.
(And his follow-up) Both essential viewing for anyone who needs a crash course on viral content. Not a bad way to spend a lazy Sunday.