The Day of #TheDress – Hashtracking Tracks How a Simple Photo Went Viral

The Day of #TheDress - Hashtracking Tracks How a Simple Photo Went Viral



Thursday February 26th, 2015 may go down in history as the day of #TheDress.

No matter where you were, or what you were doing, if you had an internet connection, you probably saw it. It was a simple photo, poorly composed and lit, showing a dress.

The photo was hardly anything to write home about, except for the fact that nearly half the population saw it as a white and gold dress, and everyone else saw it as blue and black.*

The revelation that we all see color differently ignited a mass existential crisis. Everyone had suspected all along that there were subtle variations in how humans process hue, but this was a horse (pun intended) of an entirely different color.   Arguing over blue and black vs gold and white hardly seems the same as arguing the point at which a turquoise blue starts to read as a green.

This was big stuff. We all know that blue and black look NOTHING like white and gold.  The differences are… black and white!

The internet freaked out. Buzz Feed reported over 20 million page views in 12 hours.

Although the origin of the image was Tumblr, the hashtag #TheDress quickly took over Twitter, trending in cities worldwide.

At shortly over midnight on the 27th, Hashtracking counted over 550,000 tweets using the hashtag.It wasn’t long before the spoofs started rolling in:

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 2.20.40 AM


Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 2.22.23 AM

Followed by the memes:

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 2.25.27 AM

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 2.26.05 AM

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 2.19.37 AM

Smart folks tried to calmly explain what was going on and settle the debate with science:

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 2.23.42 AM

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 2.28.47 AM

Kia was one of several brands that acted quickly, coming up with a clever campaign that poked fun at the viral post du jour.

The debate raged on, all day and into the night via blog post:

Wondering who won? Consider these stats:

  • #BlueandBlack – 90k tweets
  • #BlackandBlue – 100k tweets
  • #WhiteandGold – 320k tweets
  • #GoldandWhite – 13k tweets

* Note: It bears mentioning that a few outliers saw colors including green, gray, and purple, for which they were promptly shamed. Rumor has it, they had to take the day off, citing “personal reasons”  before retiring to a dark chamber.


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