So-Called Ancient Viral Video

Randall Colburn writing for The A.V. Club:

We didn’t used to watch everything on computer screens, but that started changing in 2003 with End Of The World,” a 90-second cartoon about nuclear annihilation that’s considered by many to be the first viral video.”

I stopped reading at this point because I was hung up on remembering how popular Dancing Baby” became (it certainly escaped 90s nerd Internet” as I remember it being all over the television news media.) While Know Your Meme has pages for both Dancing Baby” and End Of The World” it does not seem to have a comprehensive timeline of so-called viral videos. (For example, I’m fairly sure Star Wars Kid” pre-dates End of The World” by a few months even.)

The point of this post isn’t to wag a finger at Randall for misremembering (or not knowing) Web meme history. Instead I find it a shame we don’t have a commonly agreed upon source of truth” for this type of cultural archaeology.