Rickrolling is one of the earliest YouTube memes, or in other words, an internet prank, that started back in 2007. My son actually told me about it as he saw a YouTube video that announced how Rick has rolled onto YouTube 1 billion times.
Prank or not, it’s pretty impressive that a YouTube video can have over 1 billion lifetime views as of July 28th this year. The official video for Rick Astley’s 1987 hit ‘Never Gonne Give You Up’ that was uploaded 12 years ago, but how was it possible to be even more successful than more popular hits?
The story behind ‘Rickrolling’ is when someone shares a link promising one thing, but in fact launches this video instead. The indestructible ‘Rickrolling’ meme is most used on April Fool’s Day where in 2021 alone had 2.3 million views.
Rick’s video now is part of the 1 billion views club, which means it ranks alongside Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child o’ Mine,” Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” PSY’s “Gangnam Style” and Justin Bieber’s “Baby.” Though the one YouTube video that just blows my mind with how popular it has become is Pinkfong’s “Baby Shark.” Catchy, yes. Undeniably so. Do I like the song? … Ah, it was ‘okay’ at first, but after hearing it way too many times, I would prefer if I don’t need to listen to it.
Back to ‘Rickrolling,’ I was intrigued about this mainly because it demonstrates the power of social media. Think about it. When things go viral, there’s no telling how big something can become. In some ways, ‘Rickrolling’ is almost the right term to describe the whole process of going viral. It takes one person to share to another person who will share, and if it continues to roll, then it’ll continue to spread.
Honestly, this prank was something good for Rick since despite it being something silly, it’s still his video and song that’s playing. It has become so memorable that it’s rare for someone nowadays to not know what ‘Rickrolling’ is. Remember that the link is to his video. It’s not like someone took the song and did a parody or turned it into something inappropriate. The prank is just a classic full-on 80s video. And if you listen carefully to the lyrics, they are quite positive too.
So, have you been ‘Rickrolled’? I have. Obviously, from my son, of course.