Why #CharlieCharlieChallenge is a Viral Perfect Storm

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With over 2.8 million tweets in the last few weeks of May, and no sign of slowing, the hashtag #CharlieCharlieChallenge is a viral sensation.  Hashtracking has been tracking how the hashtag went viral on Twitter and on Instagram, spawning overnight  Charlie Charlie Challenge accounts like this 

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The hashtag has mainly experienced viral growth on Twitter and Vine, as teens worldwide take the Charlie “Challenge” and share their results.

For the uninitiated, the Charlie Charlie Challenge is a “supernatural” game,  party Ouija board, part 8 ball. It involves two pencils, a sheet of paper, gravity, and a hearty dose of imagination.

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What makes the #CharlieCharlieChallenge hashtag so ripe for virality?

1. Nostalgia factor.

Good old fashioned ghost stories.  Does the Charlie Challenge sound familiar? Perhaps it reminds you of levitation games, Bloody Mary or a tweenaged encounter with a Ouija board? Whether you’re 17 or 75 you probably have heard a similar tale or played a similar game at a slumber party somewhere.

2. Unclear origins.

The story is familiar enough to be readily accepted, but unclear enough not to be owned. There’s vague buzz about the challenge arising from a tale about a “Mexican demon” (debunked) and new theories popping up right and left.  It’s no wonder that the #CharlieCharlieChallenge game already has an entry on the Snopes Urban Legend site

3. Low barrier to entry.

All you need to play is a sheet of paper and a couple of pencils. These items are readily available to bored people all over the world.

4. Instagram and Vine-ops.

People out to document the demon, people out to debunk the demon, people out to spoof the phenom, bored people who have run out of excuses to take another selfie… Everyone is playing.  The game takes less than ten seconds to play – perfect for a vine or instagram video capture.  Since people act pretty ridiculous when they are freaking themselves out, many of these videos are funny.

5.Charlie is there for YOU.

Like all good viral content – the center of the meme is YOU, the consumer. Charlie is there to answer your questions. Charlie is there to pay attention to you. Charlie is there to grant you internet fame.

See the funniest #CharlieCharlieChallenge videos here.

What do you think makes a Hashtag go viral? Share your thoughts with us. Tweet us @Hashtracking. 

About Ciaran Blumenfeld

Ciaran Blumenfeld is a serial entrepreneur with a pedigree in marketing & advertising. She's one of the original co-founders of Hashtracking. She enjoys a strong, engaged personal social media presence with footholds in the parenting, lifestyle and travel markets. As a marketer Ciaran can be found overseeing multi-platform digital campaigns from strategy to execution. This is when her geek side shows.

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