Tech, Now + Beyond

11 amazingly hilarious takes on the 10 Year Challenge

What better way to justify unleashing a decade’s worth of narcissism?

2019 is just shy of its fifth month and we’ve already seen a number of viral trends hit the social platforms, such as the 10 Year Challenge which spread right out of the gate. It’s trending under a few titles including the Glow Up Challenge or How Hard Did Ageing Hit Us? Challenge but operates under one premise – a simple before versus after image, 2009 versus 2019.

Initially kicking off on Twitter, the 10 Year Challenge quickly moved on to Facebook and Instagram becoming a trend onto which everyone and their Uncle hopped on. It’s a blast and a great nod to how social media has become an online album and diary of memories that may have been long forgotten. However, underneath the fun and nostalgia may lie something sinister.

During the dawn of the challenge, digital strategist Kate O’Neill posted a thought-provoking tweet.

Me 10 years ago: probably would have played along with the profile picture aging meme going around on Facebook and Instagram

Me now: ponders how all this data could be mined to train facial recognition algorithms on age progression and age recognition

I’d like to laugh and brush it off, but in a day and age where cybersecurity risks run rampant and data leaks are looking to become a norm, one wonders. Are we being 1984ed? 

O’Neill fleshed out her epiphany further in a Wired article. She conceded that these images are already online, but consider how much easier it would be for an algorithm to work its magic if people willingly posted their images side by side along with accurate time stamping it as well. We’re effectively cutting through the useless noise. 

“Is it bad that someone could use your Facebook photos to train a facial recognition algorithm? Not necessarily; in a way, it’s inevitable. Still, the broader takeaway here is that we need to approach our interactions with technology mindful of the data we generate and how it can be used at scale,” wrote O’Neill.

She went on to list three possible uses: it could help with identifying long-term missing persons, it could be used in targeted advertising before long, and, there’s potential for it to be used in determining your insurance worth by tracking your progression.

Grim stuff.

That being said, as with any viral internet trend, a playful side to the 10 Year Challenge has emerged. After all, is an online trend really a trend if it hasn’t inspired memes? Here are my picks of 11 of the funniest mock-ups of the 10 Year Challenge:

1. A true reflection of self

The same image of a poop emoji is shown side by side. 2009 is written under one and 2019 under the other.
[Image description: The same image of a poop emoji is shown side by side. 2009 is written under one and 2019 under the other.] Via Reddit
Once an adorable piece of shit, always an adorable piece of shit.

2. Declining vision

Two images of the same eye chart are shown. The one under 2009 is clear, the one under 2019 is blurry.
[Image description: Two images of the same eye chart are shown. The one under 2009 is clear, the one under 2019 is blurry.] Via rumourjuice.com
Is it because I’ve been reading in the dark or because I’m lacking the 2020 vision here?

3. More emojis please!

The text '10 Year Challenge' is placed in between two images. The one atop shows a bunch of pixelated facial emojis. The one underneath shows far more diverse, better-quality emojis.
[Image description: The text ’10 Year Challenge’ is placed in between two images. The one atop shows a bunch of pixelated facial emojis. The one underneath shows far more diverse, better-quality emojis.] Via Reddit
One of the most important advances of our time – tools to express ourselves more effectively with fewer words.

4. When will the traffic end

The same image of heavy traffic is shown twice. Once under 2009, the second time under 2019.
[Image description: The same image of heavy traffic is shown twice. Once under 2009, the second time under 2019.] Via Reddit
We all know of that one congested spot in our city where a minute seems like a year.

5. Boobtastic

Two graphics are shown side by side. Under 2009 is an illustrated sketch of a set of perky boobs, under 2019, the boobs are sagging.
[Image description: Two graphics are shown side by side. Under 2009 is an illustrated sketch of a set of perky boobs, under 2019, the boobs are sagging.] Via nursingmomsy on Bored Panda
Gravity and age will leave nothing behind, but boobs are boobs and look great in all shapes and sizes. 😉

6. Indestructible

An old Nokia-brand phone is shown twice. Once under 2009 with 100 percent battery, and the second time with 99 percent in 2019.
[Image description: An old Nokia-brand phone is shown twice. Once under 2009 with 100 percent battery, and the second time with 99 percent in 2019.] Via Imgur
That 1 percent drop is simply because the owner was playing Snakes daily the entire decade.

7. Seattle Grace Hospital of Shortlived Careers

Under #10YearChallenge are two images. The one atop is of the cast of Grey's Anatomy and shows doctors standing around in scrubs. Underneath that is a smiling image of the show's main character, Meredith Gray, a white, brown-haired woman in a black dress. Her image is photoshopped in front of a graveyard.
[Image description: Under #10YearChallenge are two images. The one atop is of the cast of Grey’s Anatomy and shows doctors standing around in scrubs. Underneath that is a smiling image of the show’s main character, Meredith Gray, a white, brown-haired woman in a black dress. Her image is photoshopped in front of a graveyard.] Via memebase
Honestly, I haven’t been the same since George’s death. Maybe the docs ought to consider working at a hospital that doesn’t fall under attack every other season?

8. Spot the difference

Captioned 'State Dining Room in the White House: 2009 vs. 2019', the image shows two pictures. The one on the left is of a dressed-up black couple. The one on the right is of a blond man in a suit standing behind a table filled with junk food.
[Image description: Captioned ‘State Dining Room in the White House: 2009 vs. 2019’, the image shows two pictures. The one on the left is of a dressed-up black couple. The one on the right is of a blond man in a suit standing behind a table filled with packaged food.] Via rumourjuice.com
Less hilarious, more somber. This one is an ode to better times past, relatively speaking.

9. Stonehearted

Four heart pictograms are shown respectively under 2009, 2016, 2018, and 2019. Starting with a red heart, it becomes encased in stone over time.
[Image description: Four heart pictograms are shown respectively under 2009, 2016, 2018, and 2019. Starting with a red heart, it becomes encased in stone over time.] Via Reddit
I blame the pop culture trend for not pandering to unrealistic happy endings anymore. And George R.R. Martin.

10. Beep boop beep kssrsshhh eeeeeeeee oooooo ksshh

Captioned #10YearsChallenge, the image shows two version of the Internet Explorer logo. The first is loaded slightly in 2009, the second only half-loaded by 2019.
[Image description: Captioned #10YearsChallenge, the image shows two version of the Internet Explorer logo. The first is loaded slightly in 2009, the second only half-loaded by 2019.] Via Reddit
Check back in another decade to finally browse the net. And click on the link above for the right ambience for this point.

11. RIP my emotional state

Two images are shown side by side. The one on the left shows a well-groomed fox. The one on the right shows a mangy, anxiety-ridden one sitting on a chair as if seated.
[Image description: Two images are shown side by side. The one on the left shows a well-groomed fox. The one on the right shows a mangy, anxiety-ridden one sitting on a chair as if seated.] Via me.me
This is my spirit animal now as I traverse through young adulthood. Or how I look on the outside versus the inside.

Well, in case we’re feeding data into a secretive algorithm via the 10 Year Challenge, let’s hope these bombass memes do a good job of making Big Brother’s job harder while making our lives funner.