In 2023, the internet was filled with moments that made us laugh, cry, and question our reality. These are some of the best and most memorable internet moments of the year, from AI trickery to spy balloons. Whether it was Rihanna’s epic Super Bowl performance or Gwyneth Paltrow’s symbolic victory in her ski accident trial, there was no shortage of viral sensations and meme-worthy moments. In this article, we’ll take a look back at the top internet moments of 2023, including the rise and fall of Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover, the queer icon of horror movies, and the inflatable invader that captured the world’s attention. So grab your favorite meme-making tool and get ready to relive the best of the internet in 2023!
Social media wrapped (2023)
In the world of the internet, it’s easy to miss out on some of the most captivating moments. To help you stay in the loop, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most buzzworthy internet moments in 2023.
Now let’s take a closer look at the best of 2023 Internet moments.
Wednesday’s weirdness takes over the Internet
Netflix’s “Wednesday” series ignited a passion for embracing one’s inner oddball, both online and offline. The show’s titular character’s eccentric dance moves took TikTok by storm, Wednesday-themed storytelling emerged on platforms like Roblox and ASMR, and the show catapulted star Jenna Ortega into the spotlight with appearances on late-night shows and “Hot Ones.”
M3GAN: The delightfully queer horror icon
The horror film “M3GAN” and its central sentient robot doll have struck a chord with gay men, who have embraced the character as a queer icon. The film opened to an impressive $30 million in early January and quickly became a beloved addition to the queer cinematic landscape. M3GAN’s meme-worthy moments, including her ability to dance and perform aerial flips while maintaining a stoic expression, have further solidified her status as a queer icon.
Pope Francis’s AI-generated coat raises eyebrows
An image of Pope Francis sporting a stylish white puffer coat went viral on Twitter in March, sparking admiration for the Pope’s fashion sense. However, the photo, along with others depicting the Pope in various fashionable outfits, was later revealed to be a fabrication created using the AI image generator Midjourney by Chicagoan Pablo Xavier, who was reportedly under the influence of psilocybin mushrooms.
This incident highlighted the growing influence of AI-generated content in 2023 and the potential for such creations to be deceptively realistic.
Rihanna’s Super Bowl show
Rihanna’s Super Bowl halftime performance was highly anticipated following her September 2022 announcement, and while the show received mixed reviews from fans, there’s no denying its impressiveness. She delivered a medley of 12 hits while performing on a floating ledge, all while visibly pregnant. Regardless of internet chatter, Rihanna’s performance undoubtedly earned her a victory.
Musk’s chaotic reign over Twitter: The end of the verification system
The elimination of Twitter’s blue check verification system marked yet another chapter in the comedy of errors that has been Elon Musk’s tenure at Twitter. Once crucial in distinguishing news organizations, journalists, politicians, celebrities, and other public figures from imposters, the verification system was scrapped in favor of a paid blue checkmark. Initially, Musk allowed accounts previously verified under the old system to retain their checks, but he revoked them from all non-paying accounts on April 20th. This decision signified the end of an era for Twitter, which had relied on verification to safeguard users from fake news and impersonators on the platform.
Cockroach crashes Met Gala red carpet
A cockroach slays on the Met Gala red carpet pic.twitter.com/eN2CdtGIIE
— Vulture (@vulture) May 2, 2023
The Met Gala, fashion’s biggest night, was not immune to unexpected guests. In 2023, a tiny cockroach made its grand entrance, crawling across the red carpet amidst A-list celebrities. The photo of the uninvited guest went viral, sparking a debate about glamour and the unexpected.
Super Mario movie uploaded to Twitter
In a surprising move, Twitter announced that Blue subscribers could upload videos up to two hours long. This opportunity was not missed by meme account @vidsthatgohard, who promptly uploaded the entire Super Mario Bros. movie. The stunt caused a stir, with the video garnering over nine million views before being taken down and the account suspended.
‘This Barbie’ takes over social media
The upcoming Barbie movie took over social media before its release. The movie’s official Twitter account shared a trailer and images of 24 characters, each with a unique tagline highlighting Barbie’s multifaceted nature. Fans joined in the fun, creating custom images of themselves and others using the hashtag #ThisBarbie.
Barbenheimer: Barbie vs. Oppenheimer
The release of the Barbie movie coincided with Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, leading to a double feature clash. Over 200,000 people purchased tickets to see both films on the same day, sparking debates about which movie to prioritize. Social media was flooded with posts about the cinematic showdown.
Chinese spy balloon captivates the nation
In January and February, a mysterious white balloon the size of three buses captured the attention of the U.S. and Canada. The balloon, suspected to be a Chinese spy device, traveled across North American airspace before being shot down off the coast of South Carolina. The incident sparked international intrigue and became a source of online humor.
SNL took a sympathetic approach to the Chinese spy balloon, portraying it as a haggard ocean-hater in a hilarious sketch. The skit humanized the inanimate object, adding a touch of levity to the tense situation.
Succession series finale: A cultural phenomenon
The highly anticipated finale of Succession drew in a massive audience, leaving fans on the edge of their seats. The internet buzzed with discussions, theories, and memes, demonstrating the show’s impact on popular culture. The finale marked the end of an era, but the legacy of Succession lived on in the online community.
Sheepish Kevin James: A meme’s journey
me after 1 double rum and diet pic.twitter.com/zfJFNCuCbT
— andy from 5 to 7 (@ChampagneAnyone) September 22, 2023
Kevin James, the beloved sitcom star known for his role as Doug Heffernan in “The King of Queens,” found himself at the center of an unexpected viral moment in 2023. An old headshot of James resurfaced, depicting him with a sheepish expression and hands casually tucked into his pockets. The image quickly caught fire, inspiring a wave of memes that captured the essence of awkwardness and self-deprecation.
Angela Bassett’s viral moment
In a surprise turn of events, the 2023 BAFTA Awards became the stage for an impromptu performance that would take the internet by storm. Actress and dancer Arianna DeBose, fresh off her Oscar-winning performance in “West Side Story,” took to the stage to present a musical medley. However, it was her concluding rap that truly ignited the viral spark. With the line “Angela Bassett did the thing,” DeBose paid tribute to the legendary actress and ignited a flurry of memes, social media reactions, and even a “Do the Thing” challenge on TikTok.
Susi’s pesto rebellion: A call to culinary authenticity
Susi Vidal, a popular home cooking influencer, stirred up a debate on TikTok when she declared her disdain for store-bought pesto. Her bold statement, accompanied by a challenge to “call me crazy,” sparked a wave of reactions, with many viewers divided between those who sympathized with her quest for culinary authenticity and those who found her stance excessive. The video, accompanied by a montage of users reacting with disbelief and amusement, became a viral sensation, highlighting the power of personal preferences and the ongoing debate over authenticity in cuisine.
Gwyneth Paltrow’s ski accident trial
Gwyneth Paltrow, the actress and lifestyle guru, found herself at the center of a viral moment in 2023 when she testified in a lawsuit stemming from a ski accident she was involved in. Her deposition, filled with mentions of “quiet luxury” retreats and expensive designer apparel, provided ample fodder for internet commentary and meme creation. Social media users seized upon her description of losing “half a day of skiing” as a relatable example of first-world problems. At the same time, her refined fashion choices further fueled the narrative of luxury and privilege. The trial’s outcome, a symbolic $1 verdict in favor of the plaintiff, added another layer of intrigue to the story, solidifying its place in the realm of viral internet moments.
Featured image credit: JoseCalsina / Envato