What started off as a doodle, turned into a viral meme icon?


Since we are on the topic of memes, I thought I would post about “Nyan Cat”. If you are unfamiliar with this meme, it is basically an 8-bit cartoon of a flying cat with a pop tart for a body, leaving a rainbow trail behind it. An animation as random as Nyan cat became viral on the Internet in 2011.

The cat was originally a drawing by 26-year-old Christopher Torres. He got his inspiration from his cat, Marty, and first called it “Pop-tart cat”. Torres liked his drawing and decided to put it on his website, LOLcats. People of the World Wide Web took a liking to the cartoon cat, and soon after a YouTuber turned it into an animated video by combining the cat with a Japanese tune called “Nyan”, hence, changing its name to Nyan Cat. This created a participatory culture that disseminated the Nyan Cat around the web via YouTube.  The video, posted on April of 2011, generated 1 millions views and to this day stands at 88 million views. The Nyan cat was also featured on a YouTube comedy channel “College Humor”. It became a really popular Internet icon, and many remixes, versions and spinoff variations of the cat were made, like Nyan Mario. Games featuring the Nyan cat have been launched recently on the iphone and ipad. What started off as a random animation of a cat flying in outer space turned into a viral craze. New memes are being created constantly, but most have a shelf life. Nyan cat outlived the life span of most memes. Torres’s real life “Nyan” cat actually passed away recently on Nov 2nd, 2012, and is probably soaring through the sky with it’s rainbow trail, in cat heaven.

 Here is a video by Know Your Meme, on the Nyan Cat internet phenomenon. 




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