THE BEST SELLERS’ LIST- Didn’t Meme to Offend: One of the few bright spots of 2021 was viral content on social media


By Thomas Sellers Jr.

The year 2021 was kind of crappy. 

It even took out our beloved American icon and sweetheart Betty White. 

Here in Memphis we set a new murder record passing 332 from 2020. The global pandemic was a yoyo of hope. One second we felt like the world was making progress and then a couple of new variants quarantined us all over again. 

The division in the United States is still evident and things like police-involved shootings and vaccines added fuel to that fire. 

Will the country be able to recover from the horrible job market and supply chain situation? One thing we can guarantee in 2022 is the importance of social media and crazy things stealing our attention for a moment. 

Last year continued the trend of “the viral moment.” With devices like Facebook, TikTok, Snapcat, Instagram and YouTube, we have plenty of options to transform a moment, a photo, an emoji or a relic into a hot item. 

Back then 15-minutes of fame went to people. Now those precious minutes are reserved for things going viral. 

10. Noodle the Pug

I love dogs and most of them are adorable. Back in 2021, Noodle, a 13-year-old pug, provided daily mood readings on TikTok. In August, Noodle’s owner Jonathan Graziano began to post videos called “Bones or No Bones.” The subject of the vids was Graziano’s attempts to get Noodle out of the bed each morning.

Graziano would stand his dog up and if he falls back down, it’s a “no-bones day.” If Noodle stands up, it’s a “bones day.” This somehow got a huge following. 

9. Yassify

Social media is an app. And those apps begot apps. In the past few years filters have been a vital part of communication for several people. This combination has led to “yassify.” How do you achieve yassify? It is to apply several beauty filters to a picture using FaceApp. The process for making each image is simple: Take a face, run it through FaceApp until it looks generically or grotesquely sexy, post, repeat.

I’m getting used to not seeing women in their natural form anymore. Their profile pictures, work ID photos and images in frames are edited “masterpieces.” 

8. Oprah interviews Meghan Markle and Prince Harry

Who knew TV could still create a viral moment? On March 7, the iconic Oprah Winfrey went back to what made her famous — interviewing the biggest names. In the lineage of Larry King and Barbara Walters, Oprah has made her contribution to society through the primetime interview. 

Oprah set down with royalty back in March. She spoke with Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, in a tell-all piece. Her husband Prince Harry was by her side as she poured Oprah the tea. 

7. The Weeknd’s Frantic Halftime Show Memes

The Super Bowl is always a viral event. And the impact of the game is so huge that it spawns off mini viral moments. But in 2021, the weird halftime show by The Weeknd started trending itself. 

The Tampa Bay Bucs dominated the defending champs Kansas City Chiefs in the game. But Super Bowl 55 started trending on social media because of pop star The Weeknd. 

In addition to performing on the field, the artist’s production included a giant mirror maze complete with impersonator-dancers. During one part of the performance, The Weeknd looked lost in the maze. The internet jumped on the image and it was instantly turned into a GIF.

6. The ‘Ratatouille’ Musical

Last New Year’s Day, TikTok debuted Ratatouille. The musical took shape during the great quarantine of 2020.  TikTok creators developed a musical based on the popular Disney/Pixar animated film, which eventually became a special event musical for real. The reason this makes the list as a viral moment of 2021 is the 100 million views.  

5. The vaccine memes rolled in

Misinformation and disinformation regarding COVID-19 and vaccination against it contributed to vaccine hesitancy. And those trying to insult those who don’t want to get the vax led to memes and GIFs. 

In retaliation those who are anti-vax trolled the pro-vaxxers. It doesn’t matter which side of the fence you occupy, a lot of those imagines were hilarious. 

4. Bernie Sanders’s mittens

Maybe the image of 2021 is Democrat Bernie Sanders with those mittens. It’s not an overstatement to call that picture iconic. 

The politician and activist was just trying to stay warm during the Inauguration of President Joe Biden by sitting on a folded chair wearing a winter coat and mittens. With his legs crossed and Bernie looking like Bernie, a photographer snapped the image that would lead to memes and late-night jokes. 

The picture of Sanders was a match made in Heaven for Photoshop. 

3. Red Flag

Growing up, when I heard the term red flag, it was used toward warning signs about people. Then came the year 2021. Red flag is a term used to draw attention towards a problem or an issue. 

On October 12, red flags started to suddenly appear on social media platforms as people started taking part in the trend to simply tweet or write something that they feel is indicative of a red flag, meaning problematic in nature.

If you see a video of you online with a red flag in the caption, you should feel offended. But if the cutline is done tastefully and with good humor, just share in the laugh. But I plan not to use the red flag emoji and I pray I would be featured in any post with them. 

2. It’s March Again

My favorite memes from 2021 came in March. Simply, you used two images. One picture needed to be a younger version under the header 2020. The second image has to be an aged version of the previous item under the banner 2021. From Baby Yoda to the OG Yoda, these memes were hilarious. 

Another form of the March Again trend was using one picture depicting happiness related to an event or part of popular culture. Then to contrast that 2020 image, the 2021 picture would be doom, sadness or depression. 

1. Let’s Go Brandon

“Let’s Go Brandon” is a political slogan that has been used to denounce President Joe Biden. I’ll stop here to keep it PG-13. Let’s just say NASCAR fans have the ability to go viral. 

THOMAS SELLERS JR. is the editor of The Millington Star and both the sports editor and a weekly personal columnist for West 10 Media/Magic Valley Publishing. Contact him by phone at (901) 433-9138, by fax to (901) 529-7687 and by email to


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