If you’re a GeekDad or GeekMom, chances are your life is pretty busy. You’ve got kids to take care of, maybe a full-time job on top of that, and any time you have left over is easily filled with your geeky obsessions, right? You’re not one of these teens who spends eight hours a day online. In short, you have responsibilities.
So that means you don’t have time to keep track of all the Internet memes that crop up each week–by the time you discovered the OK Go marching band video everyone had already moved on to their Rube Goldberg Machine video. Meanwhile, your parents were still sending you emails about The Internet Is Made of Cats (or possibly the Muppets singing Bohemian Rhapsody, which is so last November). The fact is, there are so many Internet memes that it’s hard to keep up with them; and since it’s the Internet, they never go away.
What’s a busy person like you to do?
Well, you could take the time to pore through the Know Your Meme archives, but really that’s just going to take more time for each meme. Maybe what you want isn’t an in-depth deconstruction of Kanye’s Imma Let You Finish (all you really need to see is a ten-second clip), but rather an executive summary, something like the bit at the start of a TV episode that summarizes what’s already happened so you can get on with the show.
Here at GeekDad we take your needs seriously. So we’ve formed a crack team of web-surfers whose sole purpose is to spend their hours online finding the best, freshest, most tweet-worthy bits of the Internet: a five-minute video that will catch you up on all of the new memes of the week. And so we present This Week, on the Internet…*
That’s how it all started, anyway, back in March 2010. Good intentions and an honest attempt to save people a little bit of time in their busy busy schedules. And at first, it was successful. GeekDad’s team expanded quickly–it takes a lot of people to sift through the constant flood of new material, but they found the best of the best and condensed it into an easy-to-swallow, bite-sized nugget of meme-tastic goodness. Every week.
Word got out. More and more people turned to”This Week, on the Internet…” for their week in review. It became a Sunday afternoon ritual to see which bits of pop culture made the cut. By September of 2010 TWOTI became the definitive measure of a meme. GeekDad’s TWOTI team were thrilled with their success. It became the force that gave their lives meaning: the ability to function as a barometer of Internet popularity.
And that’s where things started to go south.
Pretty soon, readership at other websites started drying up. Why read thirty blogs a day when you can get it all summarized in five minutes at the end of the week? People spent more time reading books, playing board games, going outside, cooking meals together. Teachers found that kids were paying more attention in class. Literacy rates skyrocketed. Things were fantastic … unless you ran a website that wasn’t GeekDad. In fact, because of the huge drop in overall readership across the Internet, the TWOTI team was finding less and less to put in their weekly videos.
That’s when Secretary of Geek Affairs Wil Wheaton stepped in. Seizing control, he decided to use TWOTI as a means of manipulation, bending the world to his will. Remember that character he played on The Big Bang Theory, an evil version of himself? Well, it turns out that’s the real Wil Wheaton, and his claims of being Just a Geek were just a ploy to sell books. Instead of combing the ever-sparser Internet for new memes, the TWOTI team was now tasked with creating memes, out of whole cloth, for Wheaton’s nefarious purposes. But since everyone had stopped reading other sites, nobody suspected anything.
Just as an example: in April of 2011, the TWOTI included a very brief segment about a rumored LEGO Star Trek line. Even LEGO executives were fooled; by that very summer kids were happily assembling the Starship Enterprise out of tiny plastic bricks. (Of course, the version they had was from Star Trek: The Next Generation, and the Wesley Crusher minifig was, unsurprisingly, the most sought-after.)
Drunk with power, Wheaton and the TWOTI team openly declared themselves Supreme Rulers of the Internet. Most people didn’t object, as long as they kept getting their weekly meme fix. By 2012 the transformation was complete. There was a reason, after all, that the Mayan calendar ended then.
But you, my friends, have the opportunity to stop this from happening. Back in 2009 people laughed at the idea that the Higgs boson had traveled back in time to sabotage its own discovery. Well, we still haven’t quite figured it all out yet, but we just might be able to control it enough to send this message back from the future. If all goes well, this post should appear on GeekDad before the first TWOTI.
Take heed. The future of the Internet is at stake.
*Come on, you didn’t think we’d write a post about memes and leave that one out, did you?
Jonathan Liu has an overactive imagination and is always at least a couple weeks behind on memes. He has still not watched Lost but plans to get to that … eventually.
Fake YouTube embed image by Jonathan Liu and Wired.com.