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Facebook’s 360 Video Is the Next Frontier of Memes

Ever been inside a meme?
Image: Flickr/Leonard Lin

You were there when Pepe was still rare, and you shunned Dat Boi before it was cool. But let me ask you this: have you ever been inside a meme?

Welcome to the twisted world of 360-degree meme videos.

When Facebook announced the launch of 360 video, the company promised more "immersive" content in your newsfeed. Zuck probably imagined some pleasant landscape videos and a few movie trailers using the feature—the usual, boring stuff—but oh boy, was he ever probably wrong.


Some popular Facebook pages have sprung up recently to post classics like the video of a sunglasses-wearing minor raving in a Russian club, but with a twist: they've been rammed through Facebook's free tool to turn 2D videos into 3D "experiences." Even without a virtual reality helmet to get the full effect, the memes are definitely dank.

The format has already proven popular. The page "Sock'Em Bopper Meme Gore" has more than 15,000 likes, and "Youtube videos converted to 360 view for no reason" has more than 27,000 likes. This is a trend, people. Immersive memes are crappy-looking, insane, easy to make, and really fun. Try them out on your phone and try not to get sick from spinning around.

"Most 360 videos today are rather boring and consist of scenery from a drone, atop of a vehicle, or somebody playing with kittens in a bathroom," the administrator of the Sock'Em Bopper Meme Gore page wrote me in an email.

"Our intent behind flipping these videos is to give people the immersive experience of feeling like you are actually there," they continued. "You can watch many of these videos over and over and seemingly always see something new."

To be sure, it was very different seeing 2009 YouTube classic "Jones' Good Ass BBQ & Foot Massage" in glorious 360. It's like you're inside the deep fryer. But did the 360 treatment really make me feel like I was there? Not quite. These videos are about what you'd expect: janky, and hilarious in their jankiness.

That low-res look is definitely part of the appeal and follows the general trend of highly-compressed digital trashiness in modern memes. There's also something very appealing in the idea of kids using a digital tool meant for very boring things to make things that are actually totally bonkers.

It's proof-positive that once a technology makes it out of the sphere of thinkfluencers and early adopters, it can actually be weird and cool.