You’re getting old, and Damn Daniel is proof

You’re no longer down with the kids

My phone buzzed on a Thursday afternoon. It was a message from my 13 year old sister, who asked me this:


Like the good big brother I am, I dutifully hopped onto twitter and searched ‘Damn Daniel’. After a few moments of digging I found the video in question, which has now been retweeted 260,000 times.

In case you’ve managed to avoid Damn Daniel, here’s a summary. A kid in America filmed several short clips of his friend Daniel showcasing his daily outfits, with particular emphasis on his footwear.

Trying to make sense of this video, you can identify a few key features. 1) The kid’s voice is pretty weird, maybe explaining some of the catchphrase’s popularity. 2) Daniel is a fairly handsome chap, going some way to justifying my teenage sister’s interest. 3) Daniel has some white Vans shoes, which the videographer repeatedly draws our attention to.

Damn Daniel isn’t just another viral video. It hasn’t received the universal acclaim which classics such as ‘Why you lying’ and ‘Shovel girl’ reached, given their objectively funny natures. Damn Daniel signifies a seismic shift in the viral video landscape.

I will come out and say it: I do not ‘get’ Damn Daniel, and this makes me feel a million years old.

I am 20 years old, in my third year at university. I joined Twitter way back in 2009, and have seen it grow and develop. For years, people like me have been the main internet demographic, but Damn Daniel shows that this has changed.

Damn, Daniel

Damn, Daniel

The 13 year olds who first joined twitter as Bieber fan accounts are taking over. Technology that wasn’t available to us as kids is helping these guys to achieve their coup. Damn Daniel is their way of saying ‘This is our town now’.

Twitter itself seems ok with this. It is making gradual efforts to become more like Facebook, swapping ‘favourites’ for ‘likes’ and introducing the ‘Moments’ tab in an attempt to reel in a bigger audience. Our safe haven is being whittled away bit by bit, Daniel by Daniel.

Students have gone from the bulk of the Twitter population to that old man who falls over into a puddle, while snotty teens on skateboards circle him and laugh.

We are old. Yes, we 20-somethings are old now. I don’t care if life expectancies are gradually rising, we are old. Damn Daniel has condemned us to antiquity, and it is only a matter of time before we become those people who post vaguely racist minion ‘memes’ on Facebook and comment ‘You look lovely, give my love to mum xo’ on people’s pictures.

If you are one of the lucky ones who watched Damn Daniel and thought ‘This is funny, I enjoy this’, congratulations. You may stand a chance of assimilating into the new order, of surviving this social media judgment day. If not, and like me you found Damn Daniel confusing and unfunny, please join me in a solemn last mantra of ‘Damn YOU, Daniel’.