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Updated Dec 13, 2014 at 05:18PM EST by Brad.

Added Jan 06, 2014 at 12:27PM EST by penguin.

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Penguins are a type of bird native to Antarctica and other areas of the southern hemisphere. There are many different types of penguin including Emperor, Royal, and Southern Rockhopper Penguin. Because of the pattern of their feathers makes them appear to be wearing a tuxedo the internet often jokes that they’re formal.

Online History

One of the earliest viral videos about penguins was uploaded by YouTuber maxsux on May 27th, 2006. Titled “crazy penguin and lazy polar bear! Funniest thing ever,"the video shows a penguin jumping around wildly set to a quick paced metal song. The video has gained over 4.2 million views as of January 2014.

Beginning in the mid-2000s, the online popularity of penguins was further fueled by the releases of nature documentary film March of the Penguins (2005) and CGI musical family film Happy Feet (2006). On August 5th, 2007, YouTuber pixelicious uploaded a video clip from Happy Feet featuring a crowd of dancing penguins. It remains one of the most viewed penguin video on YouTube with over 8 million views as of January 2014.

The height of penguins’ search interest came in 2010. The most popular video from this time period is “Cookie the Little Penguin at the Cincinnati Zoo,” which shows a tiny penguin waddling towards its handler. The video was uploaded by YouTuber Patricia Sund on January 10th, 2012 and has gained over 7,000,000 views as of January 2014.


As of January 2014, a search query for “penguin” on YouTube[8] yields more than 3,600,000 results and Facebook’s topic page[13] on penguins has gained over 310,000 likes. Fans of penguins also drive heavy Twitter traffic; penguins were mentioned on Twitter over 78,000 in the first week of 2014 alone [9]. Penguin GIFs, photos, and videos frequently circulate through Tumblr and popular Tumblr blogs focused on penguins include The Daily Penguin[10], The Penguin Blog[11], and Fuck Yeah Penguins[12].

Socially Awkward Penguin

Socially Awkward Penguin is an advice animal image macro series featuring a penguin lacking both social skills and self esteem. The text typically narrates uncomfortable life situations, highlighting an exceptionally clumsy or inelegant response. The Socially Awkward Penguin image macros began appearing on 4chan as early as May 2009, following the explosion of series like Advice Dog and Courage Wolf.

Socially Awesome Penguin

Socially Awesome Penguin is the most popular derivation and the anthesis of Socially Awkward Penguin, with the captions depicting the character as popular, charismatic and sexually attractive. The series is based on a reverse template of the Socially Awkward Penguin, having the penguin face the other way and the background red instead of blue, matching with the characters being the complete opposite of each other.

Motivational Penguin

Motivational Penguin is a GIF of a animated penguin saying encouraging things such as “you can do it!” and “don’t give up on your dreams.” Tumblr artist chibird created the cartoon and first uploaded to the site on November 9th, 2012.[1] Similar penguin GIFs by chibird include Self-esteem Penguin and Personal Trainer Penguin.

External References

[1]Tumblr – motivational penguin

[2]National Geographic – George F. Mobley biography

[3]National Geographic – Adelie Penguin

[4]chanarchive – Mention of Socially Awkward Penguin

[5]Tumblr – fuckyeahsociallyawesomepenguin

[6]Tumblr – say a word wrong

[7]Meme Generator – Socially Awesome Penguin

[8]Youtube – penguins

[9]Topsy – penguins

[10]Tumblr – The Daily Penguin

[11]Tumblr – The Penguin Blog

[12]Tumblr – Fuck Yeah Penguins

[13]Facebook- Penguins

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