From the death of net neutrality to an onslaught of data breaches and questionable decisions by major tech companies coming to light, it's been a rough year online. This is especially true for Twitter users who, despite the platform's many changes in 2017, might be wondering what purpose the site has left aside from dunking on people with dumb ideas.
Yet tweeters have come up with 2017's last great answer to all this internet angst, in the form of the “Start off your new year right” meme:
if you play "bring me to life" by evanescence at exactly 11:59:08 on new years eve, the first "wake me up" will play at exactly midnight. start off your new year right— oob (@tmcripple) December 16, 2017
If you weren't an angsty adolescent in 2004 and aren't familiar with the song, you can hear what @tmcripple is talking about at 1:03 in this YouTube video:
While 2017 taught us that memes can be weaponized for bad as well as good, this newest meme (and its slight deviations) shows that the internet as a positive force isn't lost. Within days, hundreds of users were replicating the idea, and like any good meme, it quickly demonstrated its versatility. Not so into rock music? How about a nice film or TV reference?
If you start watching INCEPTION at 10:36:56 P.M. on New Year’s Eve, Tom Hardy will say “You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling” right when the clock strikes midnight.— tessa (@sherlockify) December 19, 2017
Kick off 2018 the way it’s meant to be.
(In truth, I've never seen Inception, but seems inspiring to me!)
if u play the parks and recreation “pawnee rangers” episode at exactly 11:54:26 on new years eve, u can scream "treat yo self 2018" with the main characters at exactly midnight! start off your new year right filled with self love and treating urself— ً (@DAREDEVlllS) December 17, 2017
There are also options for sports fans:
If you play this clip from the 2005 World Series on December 31st at 11:59:40, the White Sox will be World Series champions right as the clock strikes midnight. Start off your new year right. pic.twitter.com/xogCW0RkUI— Sox On 35th (@SoxOn35th) December 21, 2017
And history buffs!
If you start dancing seductively whilst singing every line of Greensleeves on 31 December at 11:56:10 as the clock strikes midnight you will be making a male heir. Start off your new year right. pic.twitter.com/5MDsfitfOC— Henry Tudor (@KngHnryVIII) December 21, 2017
Or, if you're more of "drown your-sorrows in enough Champagne to forget 2017 even existed" kind of gal (cough), this tweet would pair nicely:
If you play nothing at exactly 11:59:57 on December 31st, you’ll hear just the echoes of people celebrating in the distance, as the clock strikes midnight. Remind yourself of the inescapable fate of isolation in our fleeting existence. Enter 2018 the right way.— Mina (@minadelphia) December 20, 2017
That's the beauty of this meme—it appeals equally to cynics like me and to people who actually do things like listen to music with people they love on New Year’s Eve. Brilliant! Given that most millennials don't have a TV to even watch crusty ball-drop countdown specials mostly hosted by white men, it's also the perfect alternative entertainment for the digital age. What's not to like?
Alas, even the purest memes cannot stay that way for long. It took about as long as it does to get to the chorus of Smash Mouth's "All Star" for brands and celebrities alike to swoop in and use the trend for their own promotional needs:
If you play “The Best” by Tina Turner on December 31st at 11:58:57, Tina will say “You’re simply the best!” at exactly midnight. Start off your new year right.— TinaTurner (@LoveTinaTurner) December 21, 2017
If you start watching Bridesmaids at exactly 10:57:36 on New Year's Eve, you can scream "I'm ready to party" along with Kristen Wiig at exactly midnight, starting your new year right before you notice a colonial woman churning butter.— Netflix Canada (@Netflix_CA) December 18, 2017
Phil Collins got in on it, too:
If you play 'In The Air Tonight’ by Phil Collins on December 31st at 11:56:40 the drum break will play right as the clock strikes midnight. Start off your new year right.— Phil Collins (@PhilCollinsFeed) December 21, 2017
But that tweet's time-stamping methods proved controversial:
I just tested this. The break seems to be at 3:40 not 3:20. So start at 11:56:20?— Mark Rogowsky (@maxrogo) December 21, 2017
(True at least for Apple Music version)
If you want the actual experience on, you can play this YouTube video three minutes and 16 seconds before midnight. (Or, for a full audio-visual experience, play this Vine at exactly two seconds before the clock strikes midnight.)
The pure and innocent nature of this meme has convinced me that pockets of hope exist even on a platform I dislike as much as Twitter. While I'm sure the internet cynic in me will return shortly after the clock strikes midnight this New Year, at least for now this meme has inspired me to start 2018 the right way: with a a momentary reprieve from how horrible 2017 was.