Friday was a bit strange. It was the end of the week and everyone was feeling a bit silly, so apparently we celebrated by watching llamas on the lam in Arizona and arguing over the colours of a dress for a Scottish wedding (blue and black vs. white and gold). As you do.
(screengrab from CNN.com)
It was all over Twitter and Buzzfeed, obviously – but the stories also made it on to the BBC website, into the Independent and the white llama (Pierre, of course) was interviewed on CNN, such was the height of this global obsession.
As the stories swept the world, they competed for eyeballs, with the dress coming out on top, setting new traffic records for Buzzfeed. It was the perfect storm. It was a fun Friday story, it created debate, and it had a bit of science. The shameless news hijacking was pretty impressive by the end of the day.
The llama drama and dress mess succeeded in putting both John Travolta’s creepy Oscars behaviour and Madonna’s tumble at the Brits firmly in the shade – nay, even the Super Bowl’s triumphant Left Shark was overshadowed. Sometimes the stories enchantingly combined – as seen here, here and here…
(screengrab of Buzzfeed’s infamous post)
Just what is it though that makes people so susceptible to the more frivolous and whimsical side of the 24 hour news cycle? Was it a touch of T.G.I.F? It certainly caused bonding (read: an argument) in the office. These are stories that provide relief, distraction and, let’s face it, a touch of Schadenfreude (sorry Madge, and Arizona – there were two llamas, TWO).
Is this the end of the long tail? Stories catch on and burn intensely before becoming oversaturated and everyone moves on. It’s probably still too early to tell, but it’s well worth keeping your eye on.