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August 14, 2015

Reaction Faces

Filed under: Main — admin @ 12:01 am

I think they’re funny, but I have no clue how they became so popular. You’ve probably seen them as well:
Common images or memes used throughout social networking or any online interaction.

These images are nothing new. I believe the first, true common image dates back to before the Internet. It probably means nothing to the kids today, but growing up in the post-World War II era, I remember Kilroy Was Here, shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1.  Graffiti like this was common in the 1940s.

Figure 1. Graffiti like this was common in the 1940s.

At some point in time, images began to populate the Internet similar to how Kilroy popped up all over Europe.

One of the earliest and most popular images is Trollface, shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Trollface.

Figure 2. Trollface.

Click here to read the Trollface backstory, which is pretty interesting. The designer, Carlos Ramirez, has no idea that his creation would be so popular. I believe it spawned a garrison of similar images, all of which share the Windows Paint-like motif of the original Trollface.

Computer Guy is another such image. He appears in Figure 3.

Figure 3. The Computer Guy.

Figure 3. The Computer Guy meme.

Computer Guy is supposed to be you, showing your reaction as you look at something on your computer monitor. This image and similar images fall into a general category called reaction images

The reaction images are frequently posted on online sites to show the poster’s emotions or comments with regards to the subject or simply the direction the comment thread is taking. A host of reaction images can be found at (Be careful with the links on that page: One of them I clicked went into a “your computer has a virus” click-trap.)

What’s interesting to me is looking up the origins of the images. I thought most of them were concocted by users like Carlos Ramirez. As it turns out, a lot of the images come from comics, either online or from the real world. Yet, knows what makes an image stick and others just fall off the radar? It’s probably the same phenomenon that makes the Pet Rock popular but not any other novelty toy to that same degree. Who knows what the culture will latch on to?


  1. Dan- Some memes can be educational which means they are called an infographic. Here is an image that educates on how bad win10 spys on you:
    (click on image for full res)

    Comment by BradC — August 16, 2015 @ 11:36 am

  2. Yikes!

    Comment by admin — August 16, 2015 @ 11:57 am

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