50 Viral Images The Web Shared In 2009

If you’re new to this blog, start by checking out:

All caught up?  Great – on to part 3.

Good visuals help marketers, bloggers and anyone with ideas communicate them quickly.  They tell the story faster than text and feed into the web’s fast-past culture of real-time sharing due to their instant gratification.

Viral images are one of the oldest content archetypes on the web, yet are set on fire by new social tools and continue to proliferate – with the most interesting ones still being shared like crazy.

Email, Twitter, blogs, forums and everything in between are used to share images.  And they’re simple enough to share, that even those who aren’t highly literate with technology help spread them, many without realizing they’re helping push them on the world.

So to help you integrate imagery into what you do, I continue to document the images that go popular on larger web communities like Digg, Reddit and StumbleUpon (usually hosted on image sharing services like imgur/photobucket or are posted on a blog and then trickle down to Twitter, Facebook, email, etc – that’s generally the pattern although definitely not the rule).

The point of sharing these is to help you learn the archetypes of popular imagery (go through sections 1 and 2 linked above and note the overlap) and even provide a bit of inspiration.

Due to the nature of images on the web it is difficult to provide attribution – however if one of the below is yours (or you know who it belongs to) let me know and I’ll update with attribution.  Commentary added by me on some of these to provide background.

Anyway, on with the show – below are 50 viral images the web shared in 2009, broken down by category:


The difference between Pixar and Dreamworks

Source:  opinions?

Creative wedding invite

Great use of a Venn Diagram

Evolution of Pepsi and Coke logos

Interesting credit infographic

In a world without net neutrality…

Nature, weather, people

Perhaps he should wait until the next stop…

Great shot…

Even I think this is cute

Shot of Bora Bora, great above/below water angle

If Spiderman were a lizard

Nature/civilization clash

Wouldn’t want to be this ant…

Stunning palm tree

You know it’s cold when:

Jet takeoff at dawn

Morning Glory clouds over Australia

Credit & Licence: Mick Petroff

Perfect timing…

A toothy grin

Photo crasher

Aerial shot of surfers

Stunning tower

image credit:  mudmucks via flickr


Well that’s one way to quit

How to take care of swine flu

Archetype of news coverage when someone famous dies

Times must be tough for this shop – someone should show them Ebay

Genetics, explained

They should be required to spell right in order to give tickets

This is how you market to ignorant people


Great PSA

Art and creative

Coffee art

Staple City

Motherboard Mona Lisa

Science and technology

Clear view of a 1,000 year old explosion

via National Geographic

Perfect shot of a Prandtl–Glauert singularity

Missile defense test

The path of a Roomba traced via long exposure


A periodic table of the elements, literally

This guy really loves web development

3.14 = PIE

Great place for an airport

If websites were people

The absurdity of music download fines illustrated

Obvious sign says…

Just in case you were unsure what you were looking at

This post is part of a group writing project from the Daily Blog Tips community to put together the best of 2009 on the web – find out how you can join here.

Other image collections from The Future Buzz:

50 Inspirational Images From Flickr Under Creative Commons

50 Stunning Images From Flickr Under Creative Commons

97 Viral Images The Web Shared In 2008 (on SlideShare)

post header image credit: kentoh via Shutterstock