Goats, Gangnam and the Harlem Shake

For some reason, many of us internet folk seem obsessed with internet memes.

What are internet memes?

Okay, if you don’t know what an internet meme is, then my opening line probably didn’t mean that much to you. Who better to ask than Mr Oxford? A meme is “an element of a culture or system of behaviour passed from one individual to another by imitation or other non-genetic means” – basically something which becomes a phenomenon, usually in a very short space of time.

Recent examples of internet phenomena include music video Gangnam Style, the Harlem Shake dance (and its parodies) and all those songs that have been given the goat treatment.

Probably the most well known historical internet meme is Rickrolling. In April 2008 the BBC reported how “an estimated 13 million internet users have been tricked into watching the video for Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up” in the space of just a few weeks. The number of users online and the size of the internet has grown significantly since then, so when put into perspective, 13 million is a lot of people!

Rickrolling

Rickrolling is when you go to click a link, believing it is going to a certain resource, website etc. when in reality you are diverted to a video of Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up. Basically, rickrolling is a simple bait-and-switch, which is (usually) just harmless fun.

Rickrolling

Rick Astley dancing in his ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ music video.

If you find yourself on Rick Astley’s video, (when you didn’t intend to visit it) then you are said to have been rickrolled.

It isn’t thought that Rick Astley attempted to create the internet meme, or in any way endorsed it, however some argue that it the meme played a large part in reviving his musical career!

Some rickrolls were just done in a humorous style, with no harm intended, whilst others would cause more havoc, some making it very difficult for users to turn the video off, and others even using it as a way of installing malicious software on users computers.

Probably the most high profile rickroll was in 2011, when The White House rickrolled followers, adding a link to the video in a reply tweet.

%CODETWEETRICKASTLEY1%

YouTube hits 1 billion active users

I recently tweeted via @TechBloggers how YouTube now has over a billion monthly users.

%CODETWEETTB1%

This is an amazing achievement for the social network/video sharing site. Earlier in the month I reported how PayPal has around 110 million active users, which seemed like quite a lot, but it’s only 11% of YouTube’s figure!

YouTube is [arguably] the biggest beneficiary from internet memes, as more often that not, the memes are video based.

Probably the most famous internet meme that didn’t really involve YouTube was planking. Planking involves taking pictures of people lying face down in unusual places. Flickr and Tumblr benefited from planking much more than YouTube. Planking has a slightly more sinister history than many internet memes however, as there were deaths caused by people planking in dangerous locations.

It is a goat?

Last year Jonny wrote about mistaken identity, and how when something is adopted by the press, or the internet and becomes widespread, then it is hard to stop, even if it is wrong.

One of the current internet phenomenon is giving songs the ‘goat’ treatment. As I am sure you already know, this involves replacing parts of a song with a screaming goat. One of the first songs to be given the goat treatment was Taylor Swifts ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’. Have a watch.

%CODEYOUTUBETAYLORSWIFT%

Humorous right? You can see why there is a goat based internet meme! 🙂 But it isn’t a goat!

The goat treatment

The screaming sheep which features in the videos which have been given the ‘goat treatment’

The animal in Taylor Swifts video – and many of the other videos in the phenomena – is a sheep! One person posts a video, calling it a goat, and everyone else blindly copies. I too was a victim of this mistaken identity, and would talk to people about the goat video, that is until I was corrected by a Animal Behaviour Studies student!

The funny thing is, the original upload of the screaming sheep was named exactly that, ‘The Screaming Sheep (Original Upload)’.

Gangnam Style, the Harlem Shake, The Crazy Nastyass Honey Badger, The New Old Spice Guy ads and LOLcat pics are also all internet memes.

So, what do you think about internet memes. Do they have a purpose? Should we all endorse them as we do? Your thoughts below 🙂

How to find images for your website

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking a DIY approach to building your website. If you choose the right tools *cough* WordPress *cough* you can produce something that looks very professional without having to know web design in an out.

As with Creative Commons images, always check the usage rights of every image cautiously. You might be required to credit the photographer, or use may be forbidden in some situations.

Creative Commons Logo

Purchase cheap stock photography

It is all well and good looking for free pictures, but it’s often easier to invest a small amount of cash than to spend hours finding the right totally free image.

That is where websites like iStock Photo and ShutterStock come in. These vast repositories include thousands of pictures, most of which you can buy for just a few pounds. Sure, they can be frustratingly clichéd at times, but a bit of experimentation with what you search for can generally get outcomes. Expect to pay from £1 upwards for each image.

Ask permission

This is most likely your best option if you are looking for an image of a current occasion or specific individual to use with an article or blog post on your web site. Amateur photographers are often pleased to let their photos be utilised at no charge – if you ask nicely.

A good method to find pictures is through Flickr. For example, there are many David Cameron and Tom Cruise pictures to select from. As soon as you’ve found a photo you like, just use Flickr’s contact choice to send the photographer a message asking their permission.

Do be wary using photos of well-known individuals – whilst generally it’s okay to use them alongside news stories and other editorial, you will get in difficulty if it looks like they’re endorsing your item or service.

Take your own photos

With even cheap mobile phones able to create reasonable-quality pictures, you don’t have to be a pro to capture photos that are good enough for the web.

Even though the company is in all sorts of difficulty, you will find some good suggestions for taking better photos on the Kodak website.

Assuming you already own a camera, this method is practically free – and it holds other benefits more than stock pictures. For example, do you think website visitors would prefer to determine a generic image of someone on the telephone, or an actual member of your sales team at function in your workplace?

How do you discover photos for your website? Leave a comment to let us know.

Online data backup using cloud computing technology

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Bulldog Backup. To find out more about sponsored content on Technology Bloggers, please visit our Privacy Policy.

In the past I have written about cloud computing and how cloud data storage is the future, and at the moment it is playing a key part in backup technologies, as it is now easier than ever before to backup your data online.

One firm that offer online backup services are the Glasgow based Bulldog Backup, they were founded in 2010 and offer backup solutions for both domestic and business users.

I read a statistic the other day that almost 50% of businesses reported a loss of important data in the last two years, probably why more and more firms are investing in online data backup systems!

The good thing is, online backup solutions are getting easier and easier to use, another reason why more and more people are using them. For example, with Bulldog Backup, all you need to is select the package you want to buy, you will then be emailed with your login credentials, then all you need do is login and download the relevant backup client – either Windows or Mac.

When you install your backup software you are asked what you want to backed up, you can choose your entire hard disk, or just a few files – say pictures and music for instance.

Now you may be thinking that online backup storage is a great idea for most people, but you are on a connection which has a limited monthly allowance – say 40 gigabytes, you can’t afford to run the backup system, in fear of going over your allowance.

There is a solution to this too. With most good backup systems nowadays, you can configure how much bandwidth is used for backups, therefore you never go over your limit. You can also choose which files the software should prioritise the backing up of – e.g. give pictures and documents high priority, whilst don’t worry so much about music.

Select how much bandwidth online backup can use

Select how much of your bandwidth Bulldog Backup can use

The best thing is, once you have backed up your files, you can easily access them from anywhere, using your own personal web portal. Bulldog Backup’s portal has a clean layout and is designed to make listening to audio files and viewing images as easy as possible, all as standard. Therefore you can access all your albums whilst out and about, how cool is that! You can also install mobile apps for both iOS and Android, making it even easier for you to access your files on the move.

If you want to go up a level Bulldog Backup offer a ‘Pro’ account which has all of the standard features, with the addition of a ‘SmartDrive’ allowing you to sync files across multiple computers. A SmartDrive is basically a drive that appears like any other hard disk on your computer, only anything you store in it is automatically uploaded to the cloud – a pretty cool bit of tech don’t you think?

A screenshot of a SmartDrive

A screenshot of what the Bulldog Backup SmartDrive looks like – just another hard disk

Okay, so you like the idea of online backup, you can see the potential and benefits, but, what about the costs? Well you may be pleasantly surprised, you can start backing up online with Bulldog Backup from only £2.95 a month ($4.63) with a 1 Terabyte Protect account.

Think that is a good price? I have managed to get a discount promo code which makes the same account cost just £1.25 ($1.96) a month, and that price is fixed for 5 years! Visit the site bulldogbackup.com and use the promo code ‘bullbonanza00’ at the checkout before the 29th of February (this year) to take get started at that rock bottom price 🙂

What do you think about online backup? Will you be investing in it in the near future?

Pinterest Shares Photos and Attracts Blog Visitors

Pinterest's Logo

I have not had a lot of experience with Pinterest yet, but one night last week, I put up a bulletin board with photos from recipes on my quinoa blog, and I was impressed with the initial response. I received about a dozen email notifications within minutes. New people were following me or my quinoa recipe board; pinners were repinning my photos.
Referal traffic down to PinterestThe next day, my analytics showed nineteen new visitors to my blog from Pinterest. Mind you, all I did was “pin” the photos, I didn’t go out looking for followers or asking for people to like me.

I haven’t figured out how to fully exploit this yet. Pinterest is a very photo-oriented social media sharing site, where each photo is also a link back to an original blog post or web page.

Recipe Blogs on Pinterest

For a cooking blog, it is a no brainer. Pin a photo of each recipe and your board looks like this. (You can click on the photo to see how this looks on the site.)

An example of an online pinboardNotice that each photo bears the domain name, great for branding.

I imagine any blog could benefit from setting up a board for its blog posts. You could even create category boards if you wanted to.

Pinning is very easy. You can click and drag a Pin It icon to put in your bookmarks toolbar.

When you see a post you want to pin:

  • Highlight and copy the text you will associate with the photo.
  • Then click Pin It icon in your bookmark toolbar.

In the window that pops up:

  • Choose the exact image you want;
  • Choose the correct board;
  • Verify text is already auto-filled with the text you copied. If not you will have to fill it in.

I set up my board in about fifteen minutes. Now that it is in place, I can add pinning to the list of promotional tasks I will do for each new blog post.

Pinterest is still in beta and requires an invitation to join. If you would like to test it for organizing your favorite visuals on the web or promoting your blog, please feel to ask in the comments. I will send a Pinterest invite to the email you use to comment.

If you have experience using Pinterest to drive traffic to your blog, please comment below and let us know whether you feel it adds value.