What 8 years of Valentine’s Day memes teaches us about modern love


Someecards’ most popular Valentine’s Day cards of 2014. (Courtesy Someecards)

It’s been said that the Facebook generation no longer writes letters or sends cards to show affection. But we do send Someecards, and in vast numbers — the wildly popular comedy site, maker of all those sardonic, pastel-colored memes in your timeline today, averages 100 million monthly impressions on Facebook alone.

But Someecards don’t necessarily express affection. They’re also cynical and brutally honest, in an Onion kind of way. (“When you care enough to hit send,” is the site’s tongue-in-cheek tagline.) And that, along with the cards’ rampant virality on Facebook, Pinterest and other social platforms, makes them an interesting lens for viewing love (or its modern proxies) in the social media age.


Most popular Valentine, 2013

As far as trends, says Brook Lundy, Someecards’ co-founder and president, people seem to seek out increasingly topical cards for Valentine’s Day. Both of the site’s top cards this year involved the Olympics; two years ago, Ryan Gosling was all the rage.


Most popular Valentine, 2012

But there’s another, more interesting change going on here: As time progresses, people seem to care less and less about the holiday.

“The other trend is that everyone gets more and more jaded about Valentine’s Day every year so we try to adapt to that in new ways — as in, what are the appropriate ways to make fun of it?” Lundy wrote in an e-mail. “What does a sad night alone look like in 2014? Which social media do you need to avoid? What does ‘romance’ look like these days? How little effort do people want to put into this holiday?”


Most popular Valentine, 2011

It’s difficult to pinpoint an exact reason for that shift — it could have to do more with the type of people who use social media, and who use Someecards, than with any larger change in the culture itself.


Most popular Valentine, 2010

Most popular Valentine, 2009

But it could also have a lot to do with the fact that sincerity, in ecards or any other form, is typically not cool online. (See, for instance, the fall of Ryan O’Connell or the rise of snark.)


Most popular Valentine, 2008

Which means that, on social media at least, 2007’s card may be the most romantic we ever get.


Most popular Valentine, 2007
Caitlin Dewey runs The Intersect blog, writing about digital and Internet culture. Before joining the Post, she was an associate online editor at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.
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