Culture from the Inside Out

The Teen Who Became Meme During Super Bowl’s Halftime Show Ryan had technical difficulties with his phone during Justin Timberlake's performance, but he's now become a viral sensation

If you caught the Super Bowl LII halftime show, there’s no doubt you saw an excited teen take a “Superbowl Selfie” with Justin Timberlake. The scene went viral almost immediately, but it wasn’t because of its great photo quality. In fact, it became popular for the exact opposite reason.

Minutes before the infamous selfie took place, 13-year old “Ryan” from Massachusetts seemed completely disinterested in the show. He may have been having some technical difficulties on his phone, or perhaps he was just texting a friend. Regardless, when Ryan was caught checking his phone next to Timberlake, the social media saw this as a prime opportunity to make a meme out of him.

Some of the memes on Twitter consist of two pictures: one of the 13-year-old on his phone and another photo of a screenshot of a google search asking, “Who is Justin Timberlake?” Another popular one is a photo of Ryan on his phone and another screenshot of googled lyrics to ‘Can’t Stop This Feelings,’ by Justin Timberlake.

Ryan was later interviewed by ABC News saying that he was speechless when he took a selfie with the mega star.

Ryan seems to be unbothered by the attention he’s getting. He said his phone has been blowing up with texts and calls, and since Sunday, Ryan said on Good Morning America he’s gained 8,000 new followers on Snapchat and Instagram. Way to go, Ryan.

Rikki Yanez

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