Eh, this is doomed - Waxy or Imperica should take a crack at this. The AV Club did a list of 'things'. I wanted to cover stuff that wasn't on there. A lot happened outside of celebrities, Twitter and momentary memes. (We all obviously love @electrolemon, "double rainbow", Key & Peele's Gremlins 2 Brainstorm, 10 hr vids, etc.)
There is a master list of lists as well.
Hope for this list - get u mad & u destroy me & u blog in 2020.
Perhaps better known as: "17776" by John Bois. More than just a meme, more than an article, more than fiction - hell, this thing even spawned its own fanfic.
This moment in time is completely irreproducible. After knocking it out of the park with the Vine app, Dom Hoffmann moved on to an app called Byte - which is very hard to discover now that he is working a new, totally different Byte app - which is supposed to be the sequel to Vine...
The original Byte, however, was a kind of underground Web where people could make pages with images, animations, sound and buttons. You could actually link the buttons to other Byte pages - and people ended up making games and mini-wikis inside of Byte. This may sound lame - I may have even thought that at first, but yeeeeah the tools won me over - there was a beat and synth-based music maker tool that was fantastic.
You can still see some of the early Bytes here. (I've also tried to ask around, to see if I could get a database dump or something - would love to put it back up read-only somewhere.) I think it lasted for about a year before the app broke.
This was a good decade for Neil, kicking it off with Brodyquest. Most people were drawn in by the absurd imagery of Adrien Brody strolling alongside the Vietnam Memorial with a few starfish. But the truly sick part is Neil's synth stylings - how did he make cheesy synths so fresh?? And those bells that go off when Brody quests past the Taj Mahal.
Then when Mouth Sounds landed, the world changed. It really did! Suddenly Smash Mouth - unlistenable Smash Mouth - well, it turns out you can listen to Smash Mouth and Alanis Morissette and the Full House theme AT THE SAME TIME! And love it.
There's a certain amount of cultural damage that grunge and Dave Matthews and Full House had done - but this healed it. This elevated it. Hey now.
How fitting is it that this decade began with a Russian troll? Sunny, wholesome, tremendous - a disaster. But is the joke on him? Or on us? Like a windup man with some nefarious payload now entering... our hearts? He sells us this glistening image of himself. But we see through it - we scoff and cry ourselves silly at his robotic, stilted sham. And yet, he emerges. He is undaunted. Do we think any less of him at the end? We applaud - with raucous earth-rending applause.
RIP Eduard Khil. You gave us two-minutes-and-forty-one seconds of 1976 Russian television that improbably charmed the world. (See also: Putin on the Ritz.)
Inaccessible, some remnants at cyberspaceandtime.com (2016)
This was a live video surfing... thing. The website unfolded like a Trapper Keeper and, inside, you could watch videos on your own channel while people would follow along and chat with you. In its prime, it was one of a kind. It has since been replaced by 2020os. Had a brief moment there.
At the beginning of this decade, things were somewhat calmer. All you ever
needed to say was
(I also love what the artist - Vektroid - is doing with streaming lately.)
Cards Against Humanity LLC fell into the habit of pulling a number of capitalist pranks, including a Black Friday prank in 2014 - they sold 30,000 individually-wrapped boxes of actual shit to fans for $6.
That same year, they did a "10 Days or Whatever Of Kwanzaa" event in December. Everyone paid $15 and got 10 random gifts in the mail. (Detailed here.) The final gift was a deed to 1 square foot of land on "Hawaii 2" - an island on the Maine coastland.
You may now continue your journey at the Reddit thread: Visited Hawaii 2 - Pictures to follow.
Nothing to it: SCP is an organization that works to 'contain'. And the SCP Foundation Wiki describes what has been contained and the procedures for doing so. It could be SCP-3079, a book of magic tricks. It could be SCP-1733 - a video file of the 2010 Celtics vs. Heat season opener. SCP-055 is indescribable, not because it is not observable, but because it is a 'self-keeping secret'. For some, I think SCP was the decade.
Lenny's phone number is 1-347-514-7296. And the subreddit above collects phone conversations with Lenny - some lasting up to an hour - until the other caller realizes that Lenny isn't real.
In 2017, the creator of Lenny posted a brief history and a 'hello' message for the fans. Vice also interviewed Mango - the current programmer of Lenny. The whole thing is thoroughly entertaining. (See the right-hand All About Lenny section of the subreddit for starter.)
A list of clubs that were shut down due to bankruptcy, structural integrity problems, arsony, supernatural reasons, mass suicides. Good luck figuring this out. I think this is my favorite blog post from the last decade.
I got a lot out of Nathalie Lawhead's work this decade - from Tetrageddon to Everything Is Going To Be OK. One underappreciated aspect to her work is the frequent homage to DOS-era or 90's GUI software menus. This comes to a head in Electric Zine Maker, which is a pastiche of wild, unruly software that really fits the zine aesthetic. This is a gutsy, zany project that manages to be incredibly useful! I find that the colorful design helps coax me toward zine ideas.
Ok, this is it. I'm sure you've spent days going down this hole - the epic dance/sax/banjo battle videos. The amazing thing about these 'battles' is how joyful and (I don't know how to put this) enlivening they are. The whole place comes alive and you just want to be there, partying in the middle of this rare encounter. I particularly love the above dance battle for its entertaining crossovers and good-natured overall vibe.
This decade began with everyone dropping their blogs pronto and diving headlong into 'social' corporate anthologies for self-advertising (corpypastas). H0p3 ran the other direction and began piling up musings, minutes for family meetings, 'antipleonasmic analyses', E.T. ascii art - into a massive personal wiki. Go on - write a letter to h0p3 - the letter will be posted on the wiki and a dialectic will begin with I am to do you justice. This has spawned a small, amazing movement: Sphygmus, Chameleon (the last waifuist), Jack Baty, Phil, 1uxb0x (h0p3's son) - this is all we have left now.
If the world seems too noisy - or too computery - this can be an antidote. Silent videos of a guy building huts, clay tiles, kilns and shelter from naught but mud and spit. Palm fronds. Sometimes there are yams.
Don't miss the blog, though - some interesting commentary and questions answered. (See also: Toto's Africa on vegetable ocarinas.)
Our subject here - name of 'Pine' - struck gold with Bitcoin. Posting to Reddit in December 2017, Pine kicked off a project to donate 'the majority of my cryptocurrency' to charity. This end up being $55 million - to Watsi, to the EFF, $5 mil going to MAPS (the Multidisciplinary Assocation for Psychedelic Studies.) Whatever you think of the choices, this was very dramatic and fun to watch go down. A reminder that wealth is not just an opportunity, but a responsibility too.
"The important thing to remember is that this simulation is a good one. It's believable. It's tactile. You can reach out; things are solid. You can move objects from one area to another. You can feel your body. You can say, 'I'd like to go over to this location,' and you can move this mass of molecules through the air over to another location. At will."
This needed to happen in this forum. This model of overseriousness can and will hold. If we are going to continue to gather ourselves and to attempt any seriousness, it is imperative. And this too.
I think this game made waves when it came out. Don't recall - sounds right. You can take time to play through it. Three minutes tops.
Plain text game - and it's captivating. I don't know how Porpentine's games are ranked or valued among the IF or wider gaming crowd - but yeah good stuff. Simply fun and freewheeling haha. Oh my descriptions are so paltry. More at slimedaughter.com.
Not at all similar in tone, but I know a dark room was an important plain text game for many people as well.
Watching this eight years later is STILL side-splitting. The joke where someone tells him to gtfo and he walks off saying "great group of guys" is still amazing. This reminds me so much of conversations with my grandpa when he got Alzeheimer's - it was wonderful, like learning language for the first time again. The channel is all conversations that flounder or collapse or just don't even start but at least get a handshake. But when was the first slime for some of these guys?
This YouTube channel releases beat tapes a few times each week and must represent at least a hundred artists - all adjacent to or bleeding into vaporwave. Fans are devoted - every tape gets thousands of listens. All from a YouTube channel and Google doc.
Regardless of what you think of the music, there's something going on here. It's been a decade of algorithms pushing us around in circles - this shows what someone can do when they listen and sort through the noise on their own.
Dogecoin is such a curiosity - it's like if there were yanny/laurel fidget spinners. A hybrid of inexplicable memespam that suddenly gripped society because there was nothing else to do I guess. I think with doge, though - these hybrids were more common, it kind of clung to everything around it. It enchanted everything - and actually lended Dogecoin some much-needed unseriousness (making it one of the more useful coins) and paired well with 2048, so that you could safely sit in the sparkling, soothing, heavily-shampooed meme for hours.
I'm quite new to Ribbonfarm - so I actually first experienced this essay through the continuance found in David Chapman's Geeks, MOPs, and sociopaths in subculture evolution and the subsequent response by @allgebrah. To me, it seems like understanding these subculture dynamics is helpful when you're moving through communities, watching them rise and fall, trying to hang on to friends and collaborators amid the chaos.
The first 10 hour video I saw was Epic Sax Gandalf and I could instantly see the appeal of settling in for some extended hypnotism. Of course, the original is just as mesmerizing - but, in the end, it's the walrus that's really stuck with me. That guy in back is total commitment. (I also like KSI's Black Epic Sax Guy, especially the part where they go to escort him from the store, only to fall under his spell - it seems to dawn on them that he holds all the cards in this situation.)
Anyway - this isn't over. In 20 years, this will be fleshed out into a full-length film.
"But rather than allowing a massive reduction of working hours to free the world's population to pursue their own projects, pleasures, visions, and ideas, we have seen the ballooning of not even so much of the service sector as of the administrative sector, up to and including the creation of whole new industries like financial services or telemarketing, or the unprecedented expansion of sectors like corporate law, academic and health administration, human resources, and public relations. And these numbers do not even reflect on all those people whose job is to provide administrative, technical, or security support for these industries, or for that matter the whole host of ancillary industries (dog-washers, all-night pizza delivery) that only exist because everyone else is spending so much of their time working in all the other ones."
On the heartwarming front, there was a marked rise in "friends with the garbage man" genre this decade. But Caine's story heartwarmed aloof hipsters, entrepreneurs and school children alike. Despite the precious music and focus blurs - this is a beautiful outsider art project and I love how many people suddenly wanted to bolt off to East L.A.
Witnessing the death of Arduino the Beneficious Organization was enough to make one's crest fall. In the distant dusklight, however, rose a chip so small and talkative and punk that you were suddenly too busy running a low-power web server to care any more. It was sweet! (In addition, you could now buy knock-off Arduinos without needing to hide your face in an incognito browser tab.) From four-year weather stations to broadcasting analog TV, this little chip took over and it's been great.
Just the mere fact that KGATLW dropped five albums in 2017 - five FANTASTIC albums - along with incredible music videos, interviews and teaser footage - well, it was a whole experience, following those Australians around. The fourth album that year Polygondwanaland was free, though. They released zips of the uncompressed masters - along with their cover art - at this link above - and anyone could press their own cassettes and vinyl - even 8-track - for resale. Discogs lists 264 different releases.
It's hard to quantify the effect of this experiment. The spotlight on King Gizzard suddenly diffracted onto a variety of artists and indie labels that put out their own versions. The whole subreddit collaborated to put out an 'unofficial/official fan-made pressing'. Polygondwanaland became more than just the band's project - it belonged to that small part of the Internet that became obsessed with it.
Archive of hipsterrunoff.com (2013)
Blogging took shit-talking to new heights, previously not thought possible. It started as amateur journalists, perfect amateur conversationalists trying to not compromise their own personal brands - developing new ways of typing and putting together unfiltered word choices. Of course, HIPSTER RUNOFF was there first - don't u remember? SHOCKING PHOTO! Lana Del Rey doesn't look like Lana Del Rey in recent picture of Lana Del Rey. Riding the new wave of clickbait, HRO fabricated the choicest nonsensical clickwords that always turned introspective by the end of every post. For awhile, this was possibly the best, most benign and effortless shithole out there.
Among the auto-tuned, lip-read, musicalized videos, this one has stuck. Probably because Charles Ramsey is just a damn good neighbor. He ate ribs with that dude! ('That dude' being the deranged rapist, kidnapper and torturer that lived next door.) But more than that - the affable, hilarious, humane hero is more than just talk. He triumphs in this story - he has just saved the lives of three girls.
It's also the amazing way that this video trickled back into the culture through Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - the show almost picks up where the video left off. Much of Auto-Tune the News and other viral videos from a decade ago were from ordinary people at the intersection of crime, the police and the local news.
I cannot BELIEVE this pop tart space cat has only been around for eight years!! Seems like ages ago. Even if this meme no longer flies for you, its website holds a key distinction among feline sites: it is one of the few (only?) allowed on the .cat domain, because it offers a complete translation of the site in Catalan - the host nation for the top-level domain. (See the upper left corner of the site.) What a globally-minded kitteh.
The very BEST way to teach your kids fractions!! Or does it teach them 'frog fractions' - fractions from a frog's perspective?? Or will they be looking at bug porn as President of the United States?? Regardless, strap into your dragon and prepare to relive the history of boxing. If Flash still works in your browser, of course. If not, then strap out. (Oh hey, if you like Frog Fractions: Bubsy 3D. Wish 'Room of a 1000 Snakes' was still operable.)
The 'dweb' (distributed web) is a collection of niche peer-to-peer networks - some of which have found a fan base. The two protocols I pay tribute to here are Dat and SSB - both of which are still in heavy use. Dat is used to host websites; SSB is largely used for personal forums and messaging.
SSB gained some attention as an off-grid network, since its creator Dominic Tarr lived (lives?) on a sailboat in New Zealand.
Most people seemed to perceive this as trolling, full stop. Sure, it is, but I think this is also a compelling series on privacy. Perhaps six years after Snowden this makes better sense. See how it changes things when you can see the person filming you. Whether you see them or not, though - that person is there.
A subscription service for black clothing and objects. The website is totally anachronistic with spare, symmetrical photographs of every item in the catalog, as if they were pieces of gallery art or evidence from a crime scene. The home page also has a 'code of practice' - free advice to go along with your subscription. Many people thought this was an ARG; digital nomad types signed the fuck up.
Just a quick nod to this audience-controlled stream. I love seeing what comes out of the streaming communities - I could go on and on about the virtues of stream-sniping - but it seemed awfully improbable to me that TPP could go well. But here we are - it beat Lance's level 62 Dragonite. I don't pretend to understand it all. The Helix Fossil will be my guide. (See also: Hbomberguy's DK64 Charity Stream.)
While Twine has been used to write interactive fiction for a decade now, Twine 2.0 brought this fantastical visual language to the browser. I've cataloged some of my success using it at an elementary school. For now, I honestly think it's a better intro to coding than Scratch, Apple's Swift Playgrounds and the abysmal Code.org.
I absolutely love this guy. The infectious idealism pours right off him and it pours off him in waves. This isn't a meme video. It's a tutorial on capitalism. You should understand it now. And check your brain: cryptocurrency is crystal clear now!
If this is the only lasting byproduct of all the crypto miners, it will have been worth it.
I admire the pragmatism here. It's just a README full of links. Connected to other READMEs fulls of links. And now, years later, we have a formidable directory that has proven more robust and more useful than the now-defunct Yahoo! and DMOZ directories.
The tumblr, also, is of the utmost.
Maximalist dataviz essays on the paltryness of women's pockets or the finer points behind the word 'ass'. Every teardown is full of well-crafted interactive elements - but just to see a colorful website survive this decade is a big deal. (I think A/B testing forced every blog and app of the decade to become white and blue with a little gray.) I also appreciate that they often share raw data or R scripts at the end.
A rash of 'fiddler' sites cropped up this decade: CodePen, JSFiddle and the excellent Livecodelab. But I think the most impressive platform for artistic experimentation has been Shadertoy - an online editor for GLSL scripts. These don't use 3-D models; they are procedurally generated animations. It's a great place to learn how to write shaders or to just hunt around for a lovely scene and then marvel at the tiny script behind it.
The personal website of Gwern Branwen - writer/researcher - I would add designer, too, though. This website is its own flavor of hypertext, riffing on Wikipedia, but exuding the same feeling I get when I'm reading Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell or the works of Flann O'Brien with its novel use of footnotes and annotations.
While Gwern generally covers philosophy, crypto, anime, sleep+drugs - my favorite piece was a fragment on 'seeing through' in a Die Hard sense. (I also think it's interesting that Gwern raised $600/mo through Patreon to 'cover basic living expenses of rent/groceries/hosting/research'. I have to say - society is getting tremendous value out of that $600!) I would love to hear Gwern's thoughts on cost of living - similar to what was done in the Life Extension Cost-Benefits paper. I realize there is some of this on the Notes page.
Kind of like a sketchpad for beats and squiggles. You can also think of this as a self-contained 'instrument' in a way.
Some other impressive musical experiments from this decade: jazz.computer and DENNIS' "Always & Forever". I'm going to mention again the Byte music maker Emoji Tunes - someone really should translate it to the Web.
This was the first leak that came out of Edward Snowden's trove of internal government documents detailing the NSA surveillance apparatus. A few days later, he revealed himself from a hotel room in Hong Kong as the whistleblower. Later that year, he disclosed how the NSA Prism project was slurping data directly from major U.S. corporations, backing up the claim with a dump of internal PowerPoints.
The execution of these leaks was expertly done and had an immense effect across the globe. Beside that - the whole thing took guts! For more: Snowden Timeline.
Pixel art zine by Retro, the designer behind Pixel Art Academy. It's not very often that you see a 'zine' that makes good use of the format, especially online. But this is eye candy - reminiscent of the later issues of word.com e-zine.
Being a kid is hard on the Internet. Especially when you're tasked with waging war against all of the Sonic haters in the universe. Sammy began by doing straightforward game reviews and animations in service to Sonic fandom. But, at some point, he began broadcasting epic ten-minute rants tearing the fanbase a new one or defending that he was 15-years-old at the time ('stop denying my age'). Sammy is basically the rich man's 15-year-old Gilbert Gottfried.
PewDiePie recently did some good work drawing attention to Sammy - and I frickin do thank him politely for that.
A screw fell to the ground
Plunging vertically, lightly clinking
It wont attract anyone's attention
Just like last time
On a night like this
When someone plunged to the ground
With lines like I swallowed a moon made of iron or Even the machine is nodding off, I wish I knew more. Wish I could offer you more. But there are these poems at least.
Smash TV is the leading music television station in a parallel universe similar to our own. Vidtapes, mixes and streams - absolutely transporting.
A personal multimedia zine in the form of an operating system - ZineOS v0.420.950a [ALPHA]. This is running on a CD-ROM in your web page, I'm sure of it.
The creator of this (danielx) went on to create Glitch - another of the great websites of this decade.
Aries: You've got some frog skeletons AND a matchbook. You are fuckin set aries. You're good, nothing can stop you.
Taurus: The ability to spit dead in someone's eye rarely comes in handy, but it's sure as hell effective when it does. Appreciate your talents, however small.
Gemini: Repurpose your legs into more useful items.
Cancer: You forgot to say unquote a while back and everything you've said since is in reference to something david bowie supposedly wrote.
And it goes on like this. For three years! Thank you for your dedicated readings, Normal Horoscopes.
It would be cool to see a separate list of the best game mods of the decade, particularly given Minecraft Forge and Eve Online. But I mean - this had to be a watershed moment.
This is for all of those cleancut, normie subs and websites that just do the daily work of sincere, basic taco appreciation posts. I knew this sub would be good when I saw a post from a kid that was like 'thanks mom' - and inside was just a picture of a Baja Blast. There are no 'shitposts' on this sub, just 'posts'. It's an interesting concept.
No, I'm just joshin. The real link is Funny MapGuy - five solid years now of constant Mountain Dew tastings and baseball predictions, consummate and undaunted self-cataloguing. Seemingly not funny, no maps in sight - but yeah, Funny MapGuy nonetheless.
A Nintendo R.O.B., some LEGOs and a circuit board capable of playing console video games far beyond the speed of Adderall. TASBot hacks the games live - adding portals to Mario, Twitch to Pokémon, spamming math diagrams into Brain Age. If you haven't dipped into speedrunning vids, why not give it a go?
This isn't just a name for independent websites - it's also the set of innovations that have attempted to upgrade blogs into a loose social network. The main innovation being the Webmention, which allows you to like, reply to, repost and cite other blogs.
However, it also absolutely IS a name for independent websites, which have continued to keep our old web alive for us. Look for a Homebrew Website Club near you!
These kinds of dubbed and sparkled children's bunny smut dioramas are the right direction for us.
Cursed player pianos DESTROY anime soundtracks! Also called 'impossible music' - MIDI tracks with millions of notes crammed together. You'd need hundreds of fingers to play these. The song that kicked it all off: Necrofantasia by kakakakaito1998. Now at absurd heights, last year brought Jingle Bells 10.06 Billion?? (See also: Andy's article 'If Drake Was Born a Piano', for the brief MP3-to-MIDI-to-MP3 craze, well worth revisiting.)
Here's to all the clicker games of the decade. From Cookie Clicker to Drowning in Problems to games like Idle Gods 2 - clickers dominated the mid-decade stretch. And one of the biggest was Spaceplan. (Gah, I also wish I had found a place for Spaceteam on this list - that was such a great time as well.)
Originally at thewas.xyz (2016)
The Avalanches made a stunning return after nearly two decades percolating under the surface - and this short film by SODA_JERK took it all up a notch, serving as an open warpzone to the 20th Century.
The Internet's public-access cable TV channel. This really hit stride in the 2010s. Also see: Dante's Mystery Mix.
This was one of the original Kickstarter poster children - but also has turned into a very good starting place for children to learn electronics and programming. Of course, there is a very trivial circuit behind this thing. And there are many howtos that show how to build one with an Arduino, for instance.
I like to read and re-read Nadia's essays. But this was my favorite - and probably my favorite essay of recent years. To me, her essays never overflow; they don't need to complete the thought and deck it out with every possible observation. She weaves together intriguing observations and combines them in surprising ways. For this essay: Lil Wayne, the invention of rubber, pseudonyms and 'god-drugs'. She is great at kicking an idea around for a bit and then leaving enough room for you to kick it around on your own long after she's run off to the next thing.
Animated shorts didn't have nearly the audience prior to the Internet. Then, after the original 'Adventure Time' short went wild in 2007, here we are. Every new second of DHMIS commands our instant attention. (Much gratefulness to One-Punch Man, Steven Universe, Over the Garden Wall, Problem Solverz and the variety of cartoon stories that were 🔥 this decade.)
One of the great mysteries of the past ten years - beginning with the image to the left, which is a copy of the original image posted to 4chan. If you open it in a text editor, you'll see the characters at the end: TIBERIVS CLAVDIVS CAESAR says "lxxt> 33m2mqkyv2gsq3q=w] O2ntk".
Cicada 3301 took puzzle solvers through images, audio files, prime numbers, PGP keys, map coordinates, Tor addresses. Was it really intellegence agency recruiters? Was it just another ARG? What came of the 'highly intelligent individuals' that advanced to later stages? The best part is that no one knows. It wasn't about the conclusion - it didn't end as some mere marketing stunt. Seven years after that initial JPEG, we are still playing the puzzle.
Saw this live on election night. While most of the talking heads were trying to keep a lid on things, this guy began cutting into the panic: "tonight a General is reading the Constitution." At about the same time: Donald Trump will complete the system of German Idealism. The protests, the trollings, the finger-wavings, the anonymous agents - all have been a big part of the latter half of the decade. Although I question whether anyone will remember any of it in ten years. Sad! (Much like G.W. Bush and Occupy Wall Street just aren't part of the public consciousness so much going into 2020. One wonders to what extent #metoo or Brexit will survive. I do think Black Lives Matter and continued tension with the police remain a constant.)
A massive roundup of links for the week. (For example: here is one for the last week of November.) This incredibly dedicated (and extremely broad) rundown of everything Internet-related is the perfect final link for me to pass on to you. Not only are there not many 'filters' or linkblogs around any more - but nothing is below Web Curios' attention. Not everything Matt Muir links to has to be cool or obscure - Web Curios will link to TechCrunch or Amazon corporate blogs if necessary. I personally shun social networks, they're dead to me. But I appreciate that Web Curios keeps up on the field. But besides that - generous, long, detailed lists of links, music and video. Any given week is longer than this list! It's great and you should know about it.
SPECIAL NOTE, SPECIAL MENTION xoxofest.com (2012-2016, 2018, 2019)
It's my feeling that XOXO took up the torch from ROFLCon and gave a place for creative web projectmakers and memesters to hang out. While making this, I happened to chat with one of the founders Andy Baio (waxy.org), who said this about the decade:
"I can't imagine wrapping my head around 10 years of creative internet stuff. Some immediate touchstones that jump out for me are Telehack, the work of Bill Wurtz, the Internet Archive's Emularity project, Webcomic Name, too many Twitter bots to even think about (but probably @horse_ebooks, @oliviataters, and @EndlessJeopardy), NaNoGenMo (and its collective creative output), Baman Piderman (technically started in 2009), Glitch (both the game that evolved into Slack, and the code-editing community), Too Many Cooks, Star Wars Uncut (the crowdsourced remake), ChatRoulette, Cow Clicker, Universal Paperclips, Janelle Shane's AI Weirdness, the anonymous creator behind Bad Lip Readings (but especially their trilogy of Star Wars songs), Emojitracker, San Andreas Deer Cam, aaaand I should stop there before I lose my entire day to this."
I'm sorry if you're not on this list. I've left off quite a few sweet things (Homestuck, Bad Lip Reading, Flappy Bird, Ice-T revealing that he's never eaten a bagel, @horse_ebooks, ContraPoints, the Greta Thunberg/Trump gif, honey badgers, H.P. Lovecraft Zero, Jack Stauber) even though they were important - I didn't know what to write about them. (And I'm exhausted doing the research for this.) I also held off on most games, because they have their own lists that are very popular. It's too bad Minecraft isn't a 'link' - maybe Forge would have been good tho.
As for important pop cultural artifacts, I have really enjoyed: The Greatest Event in Television History, Maya Angelou's 'I Know Why The Caged Bird Laughs', the intro to The Unicorns' 2014 Reunion Show, the 'Like a Rolling Stone' parallel cable TV universe and, yeah, sorry, Paul McCartney's Carpool Karaoke. Oh, yeah: Kung Fury (2015). I'm also just glad that Stranger Things became such a big deal, rather than just Star Wars and superhero rehashes.
Many thanks to Clint Bingham for helping me as I drafted this - and for introducing me to many of these links in the first place.