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One internet year, One illustration,

20 defining events hidden within.

Can you spot them all?

Too hard huh? Show the answers

Too hard huh? Show the answers

  • Harlem Shake. More

  • Commander Chris Hadfield performs David Bowie’s Space Oddity on board the International Space Station. More

  • Solid Concepts produces the first 3D printed metal gun. More

  • Computer programmer & activist Aaron Swartz dies. More.

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel discovers her phone was tapped by the NSA. Allegedly. More

  • The Internet reacts to the US federal government shutdown with a picture of a child in a bear costume outside a zoo. More

  • Google’s Project Loon. More

  • Post-It & Evernote partnership. More

  • Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, buys The Washington Post. More

  • Google retires its popular RSS reader. More

  • A hoax ad for iOS7 claims the software update will make Apple devices waterproof. More

  • The online black market Silk Road is closed down. More

  • What Does the Fox Say? More

  • Twitter IPO. More

  • Ryan Gosling won't eat his cereal. More

  • Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer‘s farewell speech. More

  • Dove Real Beauty Sketches. More

  • Volvo Trucks’ Epic Split video feat. Jean Claude Van Damme. More

  • ‘Selfie’ is Oxford Dictionaries’ word of the year. More

  • Worst twerk fail EVER. More

Get a free limited edition 20Things T-shirt. Sorry, you missed it this time around

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20 things explained

From foxes to 3d guns, 2013 was a busy year for the internet

(Spoiler alert!)

We have chosen the funniest, craziest and most impressive things that happened on the Internet in 2013. Here are the stories behind them.

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take a look at previous years 20 Things: 2012, 2011, 2010

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Free T-shirts

well, sort of :)

We have a bunch of limited edition t-shirts featuring illustrations from 20Things artists Brosmind to give to fans of 20Things.

How much do they cost you ask? No! We don’t want your money!

We want much more than that. You'll need to pay with your creative efforts as we’ll be creating special tasks for you to complete in exchange for t-shirts.

Each task will only be open for a short while, so check our Twitter account for announcements and be ready!

Task 1

Calling all artists

In honour of the Post-it - Evernote partnership (thing 8) We are asking you to create a pixel art composition made from Post-it notes of one of the 20 things.

We want to see your creativity so make them big! Tweet us a photo of your creation (bonus points for use of colour) and remember to use the hashtag #20things when you post it. Everyone who completes the task before it closes gets a t-shirt!

Task closed

Task 2

Self portraits wanted

Dove used a professional sketch artist to prove just how beautiful we all are (thing 18). Now its your turn.

Tweet us a hand-drawn self portrait showing us just how beautiful you are. Don't forget to use the hastag #20things and please note that we want real portraits here, stick drawings will not be accepted!

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Task 3

Can you outdo the muscles from Brussels?

Jean Claude Van Damme's efforts between two volvo trucks really took the internet by storm (thing 18). Can you do the same? If you think you can tweet us a video or photo (youtube/instagram/twitter) of yourself doing the splits to prove it (not between two trucks obviously). Include the #20things hashtag in your video/video to let us know its legit!

Task closed

Task 4

Will you sacrifice a mobile phone?

Some were unwittingly fooled into destroying their phones in 2013. Are you willing to take that risk for a t-shirt?

Tweet us a video (vine/instagram/youtube) of a working mobile phone being dropped in water and you will have earned a t-shirt.

Don't forget to include the hastag #20things in your submission so we know its the real deal!

Task closed

Task 5

Are you a musician? Play us a song!

We're Bowie fans here and we loved Captian Hadfields rendition of Space Oddity (thing 2). But what we'd really like is to hear you play it for us.

If you've got an instrument and know at least the first verse, get yourself onto a Google Hangout On Air right now and tweet us a link to it. We can't wait to hear you!

Don't forget to use the hastag #20things

Task closed

Task 6

Can you do impersonations?

There is a lot of mystery around the revelations that the NSA hacked German Chancellor Angela merkel's phone? (thing 5). What do you think they heard her saying? Perhaps an order for pizza? Compaining to the power company? How about you tell us? Call this number (+44) 0203 206 4120 right now and leave us your best Angela Merkel impersonation.

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The Artists

2013

Brosmind

This year’s illustration is by Brosmind Studio which is made up of brothers Juan and Alejandro Mingarro. Their style is optimistic, often with a touch of humour. They use a mix of analogue and digital techniques involving lots of hand-drawn sketching to produce the finished illustration.

Check out the making of photos

2012

Niark1

Niark1, AKA Sebastien Feraut is a graphic designer, painter and illustrator who lives and works in Paris. His distinctive style layers detail on detail – which made him the perfect choice for 20Things. Enjoy the intricate weirdness!

2011

Peter Jaworowski & Michal Lisowski

For the 2011 edition we turned to Ars Thanea, an amazing creative agency in Warsaw and sister agency to SYZYGY (creators of 20Things). With great experience creating CGI & digital art, Creative Director Peter Jaworowski and Artist Michal Lisowski brought a refreshing realistic style to the illustration of 20Things.

2010

McBess

McBess, AKA Matthieu Bessudo, is a French musician, artist & illustrator extraordinaire who lives in London. He usually only works in black and white, but made an exception for his cartoonish 20Things 2010.

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Check out the illustrator McBess

Check out the illustrators
Peter Jaworowski & Michal Lisowski

Can't crack it? Reveal the answers

Can't crack it? Reveal the answers

Check out the illustrator Niark1

2013

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Welcome to 20Things

One picture, 20 things that happened on the Internet in the past 12 months.

Can you spot them all?

20Things is lovingly created on an annual basis by SYZYGY Group (www.syzygy.net), the mother ship for agencies SYZYGY, unique, Hi-ReS! and Ars Thanea.

Each year we pick 20 things that surprised and delighted us on the internet and commission an amazing illustrator to create an image that captures those 20 things. This is the fourth year we’ve paid homage to the best and weirdest of the Internet, this time in collaboration with the super-talented Spanish illustrators Brosmind. We do it because we love the Internet and the endless surprises it throws up.

If you enjoy 20Things, we’d love you to share it with your friend and colleagues.

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The making of 20things 2013

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Thing No. 1
Harlem Shake

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In early February 2013, this catchy 30-second dance becomes a YouTube phenomenon garnering over a billion views as people perform and upload their own Harlem Shake versions to the beat of DJ artist Baauer. More than 4,000 of the crazy dance videos popped up on YouTube every day at the height of the meme.

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Thing No. 2
Space Oddity

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Released on May 23 2013 and sung from the US module of the International Space Station, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield uploads a zero-gravity YouTube cover of David Bowie's classic ‘sitting-in-a-tin-can’ track. To date, it has generated more than 22 million views.

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Thing No. 3
First 3D printed metal gun

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Who needs a 3D-printed plastic gun when you can 3D print the real metal deal? In November 2013, rapid-prototyping firm Solid Concepts publishes a YouTube video demonstrating the production and testing of the world's first functional 3D-printed metal gun using 3D DMLS printing technology (direct metal laser sintering).

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Thing No. 4
Death of AARON SWARTZ

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26 year-old Internet Hall of Famer, Aaron Hillel Swartz is found dead in his Brooklyn apartment in January 2013. Swartz, a much admired programmer and political activist, had been involved in the development of content sharing technology (RSS), online copyright reform (Creative Commons) and Reddit.

Author of the Guerrilla Open Access Manifesto, Swartz was facing prosecution following allegedly breaking into MIT’s computer network and downloading millions of scientific articles. Swartz committed suicide two days after a plea bargain failed.

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Thing No. 5
NSA PHONE TAPPING

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On October 23 2013, and allegedly following online surveillance leaks from US NSA contractor Edward Snowden, German magazine Der Spiegel reports that the National Security Agency has been tapping the personal mobile phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Merkel was, as expected, not impressed.

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Thing No. 6
THIS ZOO IS TEMPORARILY CLOSED

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“This Adorably Sad Image Is Now The Official Photo Of The U.S. Government Shutdown” claims viral news site BuzzFeed in response to an evocative and widely-shared image of a child at the closed barrier of the Washington National zoo.

In October 2013, websites and services of the United States federal government were shut down following their failure to agree on a budget for the coming year. The photo captured the public mood and was picked up and widely shared on news sites.

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Thing No. 7
GOOGLE PROJECT LOON

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Forget Skynet, this is Balloon-net. On June 16 2013, Google launches 30 balloons 27 km up into the stratosphere from New Zealand’s South Island. The goal? To test a new idea for bringing Internet access - and Google ads - to signal-saturated and remote areas.

Dubbed Project Loon with an associated ‘Baloon Clumping’ patent application, each of Google’s 15m diameter balloons successfully acted as a wireless Internet access point, providing 3G-speed Internet services to a 20km radius on the ground below.

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Thing No. 8
POST-IT NOTE EVERNOTE PARTNERSHIP

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On September 26 2013 popular note-taking software company Evernote announces that it has teamed up with 3M to add digital functionality to 3M's classic Post-it Notes by making them scannable, importable, readable and sortable within Evernote.

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Thing No. 9
JJeff Bezos bought The Washington Post for $250M

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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos purchases leading US daily newspaper The Washington Post for US$250 Million cash, completing the transaction on October 1, 2013.

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Thing No. 10
GOOGLE RETIRES READER in "spring cleaning"

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On July 1 2013 and at a ripe old age of 7 years and 8 months, Google shuts down its market-leading RSS Google Reader service as part of spring clean and a refocusing of resources and talent on core products and services.

Despite a pool of loyal users, Google cited declining use as a motivation to consign Google Reader to the digital deadpool. Coming on the back of Apple’s removal of native RSS functionality from its own software, Google’s move was taken by some to be indicative of a market trend away from RSS news feeds and towards the social news feed.

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Thing No. 11
iOS7 WATERPROOF Prank

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Following a wave of news hype around Apple's new mobile software update, iOS7, a hoax ad surfaces, tricking some users into believing the new software would make their phones waterproof. It’s believed to originate from the popular 4chan image forum.

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Thing No. 12
SILK ROAD CLOSED

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On 2 October 2013 the underground online marketplace Silk Road is shut down by the FBI and cryptocurrency Bitcoin balances from user accounts are seized. By the end of December 2013 a replacement Silk Road 2.0 was up and trading.

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Thing No. 13
WHAT DOES THE FOX SAY?

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In September 2013, a music video promoting a Norwegian chat show goes global and viral on YouTube. Generating over 300 million views, the satirical video for I kveld med Ylvis asks the profound question of what sound foxes make (they yap, they can't bark).

The music video was produced by Stargate (Katy Perry, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez), and performed by the two brothers who star in the chat show, Vegard and Bård Ylvisåker.

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Thing No. 14
Twitter has its IPO

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On November 7 2013 Twitter goes live with its Initial Public Offering of 70 million shares to raise $1.8bn on the New York Stock Exchange. The opening bell is rung by X-men and Star Trek star Patrick Stewart and 9-year old child entrepreneur Vivienne Harr. The shares debut at $26.00 and close up 73% on the day at $44.90.

Although a distant 2nd behind Facebook ($16bn), the IPO landed Twitter the #2 spot for the biggest tech IPO to date ahead of Google ($1.7bn).

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Thing No. 15
RYAN GOSLING WON’T EAT HIS CEREAL

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A series of six-second doctored Ryan Gosling movie clips are posted to Twitter's Vine video-sharing app and find viral fame in April 2013. The clips, posted by Scottish film director Ryan McHenry, feature superimposed spoons of cereal looming in on the Canadian actor.

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Thing No. 16
STEVE BALLMER FAREWELL SPEECH

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Self-declared ‘emblem of an old era’ Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer makes a tearful farewell speech to employees on September 26 2013, backed by Dirty Dancing track ‘I’ve had the time of my life’.

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Thing No. 17
DOVE REAL BEAUTY ‘SKETCHES’ AD

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Viral lightening does strike twice; beauty brand Dove releases a another viral hit in April 2013 for its ‘Real Beauty' campaign and garners 163 million views on YouTube, making it the most watched video ad ever. The feel-good ad features an FBI sketch artist in a social experiment that shows women that they are more beautiful than they think.

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Thing No. 18
THE EPIC SPLIT FEAT. Jean Claude VAN DAMME

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An ageing but buff Muscles from Brussels, Jean-Claude Van Damme, goes viral on YouTube in a November 2013 Volvo Trucks ad. Aiming to demonstrate the stability and precision of Volvo steering, the ad features JC performing a full side splits between two reversing Volvo trucks.

Topping 100 million views within a month, the Volvo ad overtook Volkswagen’s popular ‘The Force’ to become the most popular auto campaign online to date.

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Thing No. 19
SELFIE - Word of the year

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In November 2013 the influential Oxford English Dictionary names the ‘Selfie’ international word of the year. To crown the iconic status of these self-portrait mobile snaps, US president Obama stars in the 2013 Selfie of the Year by snapping himself at Nelson Mandela's funeral. Owners of the Selfies-at-Funerals site are delighted.

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Thing No. 20
WORST TWERK FAIL EVER

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A YouTube hoax goes viral in September 2013 featuring stunt actor Daphne Avalon appearing to catch fire whilst 'twerking' at home. Revealed as a hoax on US TV talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live!, a YouTube clip of the 'Big Reveal' garners more views than the original 9 million views for the hoax.