You're Doing It Wrong

You're Doing It Wrong

Part of a series on Internet Slang. [View Related Entries]

Updated Sep 29, 2011 at 05:17PM EDT by James.

Added Dec 30, 2008 at 02:51PM EST by Jamie Dubs.

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You’re Doing It Wrong is a catchphrase commonly associated with FAIL image macros and videos. The phrase can be used to suggest there is room for improvement in almost any context of forum discussions and user comments.


The earliest known reference of “You’re Doing It Wrong” can be found in the domain name[1] registered on January 21st, 2004; however, there are no archives or records regarding the content of the site.

The first known instance of the “You’re Doing it Wrong” image macro series was created by Sabastien Grillmaier, who uploaded the image onto the Something Awful forum in August 2004. While the date of the original thread remains unknown, Grillmaier re-uploaded the image only days later on TribalWar Forums[2] under the name “Lone Gunman”.


Along with the FAIL phenomenon, “You’re Doing It Wrong” image macros began to gain traction mainly via imageboard sites like 4chan[3] in the early 2000s, spawning a colorful variety of FAIL images ranging from sports and pop culture bloopers to news commentaries and political satires, with the former U.S. president George W. Bush being the most notable example:

It eventually spread over to the GIF-sharing community YTMND[4], where it spawned dozens of derivative sites featuring the catchphrase as the title. The earliest instance titled “WTMND! Adam Sessler You’re Doing It Wrong!”[5] was uploaded by YTMND user Bebopblue on August 10th, 2005.

The single serving site[6] was launched on September 19th, 2006, which featured a randomly-generated FAIL image per each visit. The site also allowed anonymous readers to submit their own pictures for curation on the page.

In between 2007 and 2008, the image macros also appeared on numerous discussion forums and blogs like eBaum’s World[7], I Can Has Cheezburger[8], VW Vortext Forums[9], Speak LOLSpeak[10] and The Buzz Media.[11] The catchphrase still remains in widespread usage and has been since adopted by the mainstream news media as a popular motif in headlines.

The earliest Urban Dictionary[12] definition was submitted on March 30th, 2008:

Its what you would say to someone who is failing it miserably, or got “ownt”.
“I tried to cut my wrists with an electric razor.”“You’re doing it wrong.”

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