The Social Web In Pictures: 50 Viral Images Shared In 2011

I’ve documented images that get passed on socially here since 2008 (and have been sharing them personally around the web for over a decade). Images predate video yet continue to proliferate quicker due to their inherent instant nature.

My methodology for gathering these is simple: it has to break the “hot” threshold on StumbleUpon, Reddit, Digg or some other community that includes diversity, aggregation and incentives. I collect as I go to share with you here.

The social news sites don’t all keep their archives publicly available, so I feel it useful to keep a record. Plus anyone looking to have their ideas spread can learn from the clear archetypes of successful images.

So if you’re new to this site (or this series) start by checking out the following posts in this series:

All caught up?  Great.

So what is the web sharing in 2011? Let’s check out a sampling of the images currently going hot across social web channels in the first two months of this year.

Infographics, charts and graphs

Well explained

Everyone seems to get this wrong

image credit:

Makes sense to me

image credit:  Moritz Resl

If you’re reading this, you should be thankful


Food for thought for publishers

image credit:

Cats…always just out of reach

Done that…

Fairly self-explanatory

But why would anyone do this?

Sleep-related charts seem to be popular lately

Facebook infographic

How Netflix disrupted Blockbuster

PBS embracing infographics to raise awareness for funding

Nature, animals

Cold, but stunning

Winter forest looking up

A break in the clouds

Dragonfly up close

Transparent lake

As the storm approaches

Tornado chasers catch one on film

Would you live here?

Sky view from the tundra

Sleeping fox

Lynx and cat make good friends

I don’t want you to be upset, but….

Fire dragon

Fog over the city

Creative ads

As someone who has gone car-free, I agree with this

This karate studio has a sense of humor

Great calling card for a personal trainer

Star Wars posters remixed

Clever stop smoking ad

Everything else / random

The snowman plots his revenge


Just the right moment

How to always be early

Couldn’t have said it better

This one made me laugh, if you don’t get it – here is context

More hilarious test answers

This would be a pretty good practical joke


Not sure why the moray eel diagram has started to be passed along, but there you go

Oh…so that’s what The Matrix twins were based off of

Great above shot of the space shuttle

Creative smoke art

These two are always battling it out in the morning

Android vs. iPhone

Bubble pop captured


Note:  if I used one of your images and you would like credit, please drop me a note and I’ll update with attribution. Unfortunately an overwhelming majority of users save content on various image hosting services without attribution – so it is difficult to provide that on every image (but I’ve done so where possible).

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Update: get part 2 of images the web has shared in 2011.