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About

Last Online: 5 Years Ago is a catchphrase used to express an abrupt end of communication with an online friend. The phrase mimics the language found on various online message boards and video games that allows users to see when a player or board member was last active.


Origin

While the phrasing "last online years ago" existed prior to its use as an internet meme, the earliest available usage of the phrase as a joke was posted on April 19th, 2011 by Twitter <1> user
denniswerners. The post reads, "last online: 5 years ago! #lol :)" (shown below).

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Spread

For nearly a decade, the phrase, in its various forms, appeared on a variety of websites and message boards. People comment on online friends or acquaintances they had but abruptly lost contact with. For example, on May 9th, 2013, Redditor <2> alienangel2 posted in a thread about World of Warcraft wrote, "And the last activity dates :/ Last Online: 5 Years Ago." On July 14th, 2017, to comment on a user"s disappearance, an anonymous 4chan <3> user wrote, "Last online: 7 years ago" (shown below).

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On January 29th, 2019, Tumblr <4> user stwafunny user posted an Ironic Doge Meme that reads, "it"s Mgetting late and I don"t want to be late for school. Night dudes, see you tomorrow. Last online: 5 years ago." The post received more than 16,000 notes in two months (shown below, right). The following week, Redditor<5> shared the meme on the /r/me_irl subreddit, where it received more than 10,000 points (96% upvoted) and 150 comments.

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In February 2019, a video version of the meme was spread on the short form video application TikTok. The meme features someone playing a video game. Halfway through the video, the color in the picture disappears and the subject appears sad, while somber music from the Pixar film Up plays on the soundtrack. On February 23rd, TikTok user brick608 posted a version entitled "Last seen online: 8 years ago." The post received more than 64,000 favorites and 2,000 shares in less than one month (shown below).