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The ‘tag yourself’ meme lets you choose your own destiny

You can be anything from a cat to a pop star.


Gabe Bergado

Internet Culture

Posted on Jan 27, 2016   Updated on May 27, 2021, 7:39 am CDT

Are you made of solid gold, and therefore unable to move, but nonetheless very handsome and charming? Or maybe you’re more the type that’s constantly on fire and a misunderstood demon? Are you the sort who can roller skate and control time? OK, come on, you’ve got to be one of these.

That’s the only rule for the latest meme to conquer Tumblr—the “tag yourself” chart. 

The craze infected the social networking site’s consciousness almost without warning. Know Your Meme is calling it the “tag yourself” meme, but it might also be recognized as the “tag which one you are” meme. Each iteration features a chart with various characters that belong to a certain set—for example, pups, as you’ve already seen, or female singers—and each one of those roles has various defining attributes. 

But the archetypes are crudely designed, and the characteristics are often just as strange or sarcastic. The observer reblogs the post, indicating which one they most identify with in the tags section of the post. Think of it as an extension of the self—none of the choices might not be a perfect fit, but one of them will always somehow feel just right. 

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As you can see, Tumblr user farilyoddlarents identifies as “a good man,” the gray cat from the chart.

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As Know Your Meme notes, this meme has possible origins in 4chan‘s “choose wisely” threads. In these, people would similarly select a character from a chart or list. But the meme exploded in popularity on Tumblr on January 24 (even though there’s some light documentation of it existing on Tumblr as early as January 11), faster than many other memes. It has totally consumed people’s dashboards.

“I went to sleep and I woke up and this was my entire timeline,” Lizzie, the user behind the Tag Which One You Are Tumblr account told the Daily Dot. “It was everywhere. Every single post.”

Lizzie started the Tumblr—separate from her personal account—to archive all these memes in one place. She created the account on Sunday night and as of Monday evening had about 15,000 followers.

“I hope that [the meme] lasts for a while, but knowing Tumblr it could be gone in three hours.” 

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There’s some overlap between “tag yourself” and “the signs as…” memes, a Tumblr phenomenon that took over the site in 2015. Here, people’s zodiac signs were assigned to certain characters or attributes. For example, “the signs as Harry Potter characters” or “the signs as other memes.” The signs meme is less flexible than “tag yourself” in the sense that when you begin reading a signs post, your zodiac symbol is already assigned to one of the entries. With “tag yourself,” you have the freedom to choose whichever character you want within the confines of the available options. What weaves through both is the sense of identity—whether it’s being able to pick it or figuring out an extension of your real identity.

“Tag yourself” is also beginning to spread to other social networks, including Twitter. There was no reference of “tag which one you are” in reference to the meme until January 24, when @VanTwinblade tweeted a link to a Tumblr post.

It didn’t take long until people started tweeting their thoughts about the meme and sharing some of the sets.

With the meme blowing up so quickly instead of enjoying a slow burn, like the signs as meme did, there’s been some exhaustion already. And it’s being expressed in some pretty clever ways.

As Lizzie said, we don’t know exactly how long this meme will stick around. What we do know is that we’ll keep tagging ourselves as long as it does. 

Screenshot via Tag Which One You Are/Tumblr

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*First Published: Jan 27, 2016, 11:00 am CST