As the years go by and we as a society have come to realize that, yes, the internet really is forever, it seems increasingly important to keep track of what we’re creating and consuming. From melting your brain with "Subway Surfers" gameplay over Family Guy clips and admiring Sabrina Brier’s on–screen adaption of the worst person you’ve ever met, to a never–ending pool of borg–related puns, or maybe the all encompassing, summer long event that was "Barbenheimer," 2023 was certainly a year of bizarre, albeit entertaining, internet trends. So, if you’re trying to think back on how you’ve managed an alarmingly high daily screen time, and coming up blank, Street’s got you covered. Without further ado, our official list of the best internet trends of 2023.
– Jules Lingenfelter, Style editor
Barnacle Removal TikToks
Barnacle removal is the pimple popping of 2023. Videos of fishermen removing barnacles from lobsters and crabs have recently taken over my TikTok, and for good reason. It provides the satisfaction of pimple popping by allowing you to sigh a deep breath with the animal. But unlike human pimples, barnacle removal assuredly comes with no blood nor pain. And you scroll knowing that you supported an animal’s shell–care: Barnacles can make it difficult for crabs and lobsters to shed. Through videos like barnacle removal, TikTok brings a previously elusive practice to life, giving us a glimpse into something most of us will never see. And maybe next time you eat lobster or crab, you’ll think about the effort that went into ensuring the animal’s well–being, and “farm–to–table” (or, “ocean–to–table”) may take on a different meaning.
– Claire Kim, Style writer
Google Emoji Kitchen
Ever seen a snoose? A snouse? A snird? Probably not, because they’re the progeny of Google’s emoji kitchen. I cooked up a snail goose, a snail mouse, and even a snail bird, but you can combine any two emojis to create something entirely new and probably a little horrifying! Some of them are a little punny: When you crossbreed a clown and the fish, you get Nemo. Or, if you mix the bread and the pineapple, you get a Chinese pineapple bun. Other concoctions produce ethereal creatures like the whoon, a yellow moon shaped like a whale, or the stroose, a star–studded mother goose. But, a lot of the combinations generated just shove the two things together, like the scorpion wearing hotdog buns and a squiggle of mustard, or the shark wearing a fox–ear headband. The possibilities are endless—you’re welcome for this novel way to waste your time.
– Arielle Stanger, Print editor
Jemima Kirke’s Instagram Q&A Days
When Girls was on the air, it seemed like all anyone wanted to know was: How much is Lena Dunham actually like Hannah Horvath? But nobody thought to ask “How much is Jemima Kirke like Jessa Johansson?” Well, now we know, and it turns out the answer is “a lot.” This year, her Instagram Q&As became kind of a national holiday in the Street office, like Moses descending from the mountain to bring divine wisdom back to the Israelites. A few highlights:
Q: “Advice for needing comradery without coming off desperate?”
A: “I’m not saying this is foolproof but if you scream loud enough and often enough and really give a voice to your loneliness [sic], your neighbor might knock on your door to see if you’re ok and you can say you’re fine why? Tell them you heard the scream too and you guys can muse over how scary that was and make guesses about what/who it might’ve been…Then invite them to get a drink or something.”
Q: “Any advice to unconfident young women?”
A: “I think you guys might be thinking about yourselves too much.”
– Walden Green, editor–in–chief
Underwear as Outerwear
While wearing corsets and bustiers has been steadily climbing over the past three years, the trend of wearing undergarments as statement pieces went further this summer. The style got comfortable this summer with people wearing boxers as statement shorts. With the help of TikTok and “viral” pair from Uniqlo, boxers made it outside of the home. Women donned cotton boxers, typically in the classic white or blue pin stripes, both on the runway and on the streets. Whether paired with a smart blazer and loafers, or dressed down with an oversized T–shirt, this style was everywhere. I’m all about the androgynous vibes of the style that prioritize comfort. And I love the (quite literally) cheeky humor of wearing these in public. Plus, with options available in almost every price range, whether $12 from Walmart or $1,200 from Miu Miu, this nonchalant style is for everyone.
– Anna O’Neill–Dietel, Style writer
Dorm Room Cooking
Step aside, Gordon Ramsay. TikTok star @lazypotnoodle has mastered the filet mignon… in their dorm room. Boasting 1.8 million followers and 52.9 million likes, the dorm room chef has seared, breaded, baked, and blended classic dishes around the world on a dark dorm room bed. In front of a dusty laptop, usually playing a TV show, @lazypotnoodle makes the fanciest, messiest, and greasiest food with a range of kitchen appliances. With the trusty pink plug–in pot, they inspire anyone to cook funnel cake, cheesesteak sliders, or crab rangoons. If they can make an appetizer, entree, and dessert on their bed, with plug–in appliances, you could do it too.
– Steven Li, Style writer
The FNAF Revival
There’s a reason this is in the pop culture category and not movies. Was the Five Nights at Freddy's movie good? Absolutely not. Was this the first year that FNAF audios on TikTok, cosplays, and lore has circulated throughout the internet, permeating through even to the lives of those who don’t know who Freddy Fazbear is? Again, no. And yet for those of us who were fortunate enough to play the horror video game in the mid–2010s, listen to The Living Tombstone, and engage in the incredibly detailed, incredibly long lore Youtube video essays, FNAF entering the mainstream in this sense has been both nostalgic and terrifying. Though Mike Schmidt might not have been the security guard of my dreams, perhaps it was all worth it, as we return to our roots: Josh Hutcherson thirst traps.
– Hannah Sung, Music editor
Aggressive Sandwich ASMR
I’ve always been a sandwich girlie through and through, so my obsession with TikToks of people aggressively making sandwiches is no surprise. Over the past year, numerous content creators—such as @salt_hank and @owen.han—have made snippy sandwich recipe videos popular, with an emphasis on close–up visuals and enunciated sounds as they demonstrate the cooking process. These enthralling videos are a gift to all of my senses whenever they pop up on my Instagram or TikTok: The satisfying chopping and sizzling of onions, the plonk of meat and cheese on bread, the sharp crunch of the bread being cut in half, and the brain–tingling chomping on the final product. Goosebumps.
– Zaara Shafi, Style writer
Tinder Tabi Thief v. Twitter
There’s nothing I love more than an excuse for the internet to hate on a man and his audacity, and one man’s crime of passion swept the Twitter masses this year. A TikTok user went viral after revealing the strangest Tinder date she may have ever matched with, and the loss of her beloved Tabi Mary–Janes. In the video, Lex tells her tale of how a Tinder match, Josh, stole her designer shoes—retailed at almost $1,000, may I add—after spending the night. He had deleted his number from her phone, after borrowing it under the guise of showing her a Spotify playlist, and gifted the stolen shoes to his current—yes, current—girlfriend. As the video gained views and she gained support, Josh finally admitted to the crime, texting her, “Ight you got me.” The Tabis were safely returned to their rightful owner and Twitter stood appalled at the actions of this mysterious, nose–ringed man. The timeline flooded with condemnation of him, and warnings were issued to keep all two–toed footwear secure from lurking NYC fashion men.
– Jules Lingenfelter, Style editor