Viral images and the power of an icon: 2009-2013 (pictures)
As Iran votes for a new president, it's also the anniversary of the last moments of an Iranian music student killed during a protest there. Video of her death went viral. And as the Internet has grown since, our global village has gotten that much smaller.
Protesters in Paris hold up a banner with the image of 26-year-old Neda Agha-Soltan, who was shot during a Tehran street demonstration protesting the results of the 2009 Iranian presidential election. A video of her death subsequently went viral.
The instantaneous transmission of the video around the world underscored how much smaller our global village had become. And in the subsequent four years, as the Internet has spread even further, there's been no shortage of extraordinary moments that became viral fodder for millions around the world. Here's a look at some of them.
Correction: A previous Getty photo misidentified the victim's identity. You can read more about the media mix-up which followed the shooting here.
The White House released this image, taken May 2, 2011, one day after President Obama announced that U.S. special forces had shot Osama bin Laden during a commando raid into Pakistan. It shows Obama, Vice President Joseph Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and others in the White House's Situation Room, watching live updates on the raid.
Jonathan Mak poses with his laptop, showing his self-designed somber logo marking the death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. The logo, a black background with Jobs' silhouette incorporated into the bite out of a white Apple logo, went viral and was reposted rapidly on social-media sites. The 19-year-old Hong Kong design student said he was overwhelmed and "flattered" after his tribute to Jobs caused a worldwide Internet sensation.
The New York Post front page on Dec. 4, 2012, caught the last seconds of life for a 58-year-old Queens man, Ki-Suck Han, as he tried desperately to climb back onto the train platform after after being pushed onto the tracks by a homeless man.
An aerial view shows the Eyjafjallajokull volcano billowing smoke and ash during an eruption on April 17, 2010. Winds blowing a massive volcanic ash cloud from Iceland lashed the continent, wreaking havoc on millions of people as a volcanic ash cloud from Iceland forced European countries to extend flight bans.
Riot police walk in the street as a couple kisses on June 15, 2011, in Vancouver, Canada. Vancouver broke out in riots after their hockey team, the Vancouver Canucks, lost in game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals. This image became an Internet sensation but the picture left an mistaken impression which only got cleared up a few days later when the couple appeared in a television interview with the "Today Show." This was not a picture of an amorous couple caught by a roving camera. In fact, the woman, Alexandra Thomas, had fallen down after getting knocked about by the surging crowd. Her boyfriend, Scott Jones, rushed to her side and then comforted her with a kiss.
This May 2012 cover shot of 26-year-old mother Jamie Lynne Grumet breast-feeding her 3-year-old son predictably stirred controversy -- and yes, that was the point. For Time's editors, it was mission accomplished.
Egyptian protesters gather debris in a street which was torched during protests, in central Cairo on December 20, 2011. Clashes between Egyptian security forces and protesters demanding an end to military rule, another outgrowth of the "Arab Spring," which began a year earlier when Mohamed Bouazizi, a vegetable seller, set himself on fire to protest police brutality.
Nn image captured off a cellular phone camera shows the arrest of Libya's strongman Muammar Gaddafi in Sirte on October 20, 2011. A Libyan National Transitional Council commander had told AFP that Gaddafi was captured as his hometown Sirte was falling, adding that the ousted strongman was badly wounded. At the time this photo was taken, Gadaffi was still alive. He was subsequently beaten to death.
TV grab taken from the Chilean National TV (TVN) of Florencio Antonio Avalos Silva, one of 33 trapped miners during the first contact with a video camera after 17 days, in San Esteban gold and copper mine, near Copiapo, in the arid Atacama desert, 480 miles north of Santiago, on August 22, 2010. Contact was established with them 17 days after a structural collapse trapped them below ground.
It was a miracle. This image shows rescue boats next to a US Airways plane floating in the water after crashing into the Hudson River in the afternoon on January 15, 2009, in New York City. The Airbus 320 flight 1549 crashed shortly after take-off from LaGuardia Airport heading to Charlotte, N.C. There was no loss of life.
The last of the 33 Chilean miners to be rescued, Luis Urzua (middle), celebrates alongside Chilean President Sebastian Pinera (second from right) after being brought to the surface from the San Jose mine, near Copiapo, Chile on October 13, 2010. The rescue of the 33 miners trapped underground in Chile took some 22 and a half hours, with only the rescue workers left to resurface.
Videos and still images of a U.C. Davis Occupy protest went viral in November 2011 after police used pepper spray on the peaceful demonstrators. It also led to a host of viral art imitations of the incident which spread throughout the Internet.
A women and her injured baby are seen at a makeshift field hospital on January 13, 2010, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Planeloads of rescuers and relief supplies headed to Haiti as governments and aid agencies launched a massive relief operation after a powerful earthquake that may have killed thousands. President Obama ordered a swift and aggressive U.S. rescue effort, while the European Union activated its crisis systems and the Red Cross and United Nations unlocked emergency funds and supplies for the destitute nation. Much of Port-au-Prince was reduced to rubble by the 7.0-magnitude quake on January 12, but the airport was operational, opening the way for international relief aid to be ferried in by air as well as by sea.
In this handout image provided by the U.S. Coast Guard, fire boat response crews battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico on April 21, 2010, near New Orleans.
A laughing gull coated in heavy oil wallows in the surf June 4, 2010, on East Grand Terre Island, La. Oil from the Deepwater Horizon incident came ashore in large volumes across southern Louisiana coastal areas.