Posted on May 5, 2013
Hello there. Today starts the first first day of what I hope will be a new series called, “Viralocity.” I’m going to talk about some different things that are going pretty viral on the web in different ways, across different platforms. The best and quickest way to structure this is going to be to talk about the Who, What, Where, and Why of a viral entity. Ending with the why because for our purposes the why may be the most important thing. As in, why in the heck is this odd thing going viral?
To reiterate, the concept for “Viralocity” is that simple: What Makes Things Sticky On The Internet?
I’m not an expert (because in my opinion NO ONE is an expert on the internet), but I do have a fairly educated opinion that I will share with you. However, this series won’t work without you and an honest exchange of information. So, tell me in the comments section below about what you’ve seen (and been fascinated by) on the internet this week. You can also tell me why you think the below properties might be going viral, as well. Chances are, you might even have a better idea than I do. Let us begin.
The What: White Men Wearing Google Glass
White Men Wearing Google Glass exists in two places – on tumblr and on twitter. The tumblr version is the most viral. I don’t know what its exact numbers are, but it’s being talked about everywhere – here for example and here.
The author is anonymous.
I find that interesting. If you create something this sticky and talked about on the interwebs – why not take credit for it?
When: Right now, people, right now. The thing is so new that there are only about 31 pictures on the tumblr and the blog has only been up for about 5 days. Which is an interesting point about virality – why are some things hot immediately and then others take years to catch on?
White Men Wearing Google Glass is interesting because IT’S PROVOCATIVE. When I heard about this meme my immediate thought was, “Of course because I’ve never seen a black man or a woman wearing these things anywhere.” White Men Wearing Google Glass speaks to the gender and class divide that may be happening in the technology industry. There are more male software developers than woman and those are the guys that are trying these out. Google Glass is also expensive. I think a pair costs around $1500 a pop currently, so that speaks to who is buying the first round of them up – white dudes. Ultimately, who cares who buys them first, you might be thinking. However, there is this idea that the ultimate democracy is the internet and it’s not that democratic if the people with the most money get things first. I liken it to the massive blackout that occurred, a few years ago, while I lived in New York city. When the lights came back on, they came back on in the higher income areas first. Interesting, isn’t it?
Anyway, from a sticky perspective White Guys Wearing Google Glass works. It spurs debate. It spurs submissions. Anytime you can create something where people will fall all over themselves to submit content for your entity, then you’ve got something. People are submitting White Guys In Google Glass pics in droves. (It reminds me of the “Binders Full Of Women” tumblr that I wrote about here.) WMWG also spurs response content like the “Women With Glass” tumblr you can read about here.
Those are my thoughts. Now, I’d like to hear yours. Leave ‘em for me in the comments section below.
Hope you have a great week.
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