Rock and Rickroll
Memes come and go, but a special few endure and become a fabric of our online society. As we’ll see today, Rickrolling is one of those memes. First, for the unaware, what is Rickrolling?
It’s a simple prank. You send someone a link implying it’s one thing, but in fact it’s a link to the music video for Rick Astley’s 1987 track “Never Gonna Give You Up”. The prank being you end up watching a guy singing and dancing to a cheesy pop track.
As online pranks go, it’s fairly mundane and quaint. You may chuckle, or get a bit annoyed, but then you move on. Rickrolling, which first gained popularity on 4chan in 2006, continues to this day. You’ve probably been caught once or twice yourself, but how often is it still happening?
We used Brandwatch Consumer Research (thanks to Billiejoe Charlton, one of our senior data scientists for the idea) to find shares of the music video on Twitter, Reddit, Tumblr, and forums.
We removed any mentions that included the song title or the artist’s name too. And while the data will include some non-Rickrolling shares, the vast majority are prank shares.
Here’s how that looks charted over the last few years.