Arguably the most pervasive and frustrating internet meme over the past few years has been the practice of Rickrolling. But its evolution has taken the form of an even more annoying practice, called “Shredding”.
What is RickRolling?
Rickrolling takes place when a person provides a friend or colleague with web link that they claim is relevant to the receiver but the link actually takes the user to a video of Rick Astley singing his 1987 ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’.
For example, the Rickroller (Lachy) might send the Rickrollee an email like this:
It’s really important that you watch this video from human resources. Apparently some significant changes are taking place that could affect your division.
The Rickrollee (Paul) might logically think, “That sounds important” and click the link.
Rickrolling has extended beyond Web links to playing the video or song disruptively in other situations, including public places. The practice may have reached its Zenith when Astley and the song actually made a surprise appearance in the 2008 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, reaching tens of millions of viewers.
However, hold onto your sanity folks, because Rickrolling’s leading internet meme mantle could soon be usurped. Its evolution has taken the form of a practice called Shredding.
What is the Shredding internet meme?
This new twist in the popularity of internet trickery takes place when a creative digital native takes a popular song or video clip, usually a live performance, and through their own technical skill and musical finesse manages to remove any notable musical skill or technical finesse from the artists responsible for the ‘shredded’ video clip.
The clip is then circulated without disclosing that the performance has been altered. In fact, the Shredder is more likely to make claims that might improve the percieved authenticity of the clip.
For example, the Shredder might send an email like this:
I saw Kings of Leon last night and they were awful! I’ve never seen a band tank so badly! I needed earplugs.
If done well, the Victim (Lachy) often then feels inclined to circulate the really embarrassing and, therefore, highly amusing performance. Of course, the other victims are the artists themselves.
However, the following clip has been so well shredded, described as ‘Kings of Leon have a disaster of a gig at Reading Festival 2009’, that it is hard to imagine that Kings of Leon frontman Caleb wouldn’t have choked back a laugh or two on seeing its artfully-crafted awefulness.
What next? I’m looking forward to a Shredded Rickroll (perhaps with a dollop of keyboard cats).