Sunday, 1 March 2015

#TheDress: The Impact of Togetherness on Social Media

I was on Twitter the other day and as soon as I pulled up the app every single tweet was saying 'BLACK & BLUE!', 'WTH IT'S WHITE & GOLD!', 'Omg I'm colourblind!'. So naturally I was in a natural 'what the eff' state and tried to backtrack tweets to find out what everyone was going on about. Eventually, I realised that people were actually getting so incredibly hyped up about a dress....

A. Dress. 

I'm talking about grown men (who probably have a serious criminal record) ready to kill on my timeline because they couldn't see white and gold in this mediocre bodycon creation. I was bemused, startled and most importantly, very intrigued. 

The infamous dress.
Before I go on, you're probably wondering what colour I saw in the dress because your life revolves around this right? Well truth being that I initially saw black and blue for a whole day but the next day I saw white and gold. No joke, I freaked the hell out. I saw some explanations saying that it all depends on your mood or the cornea of your eye- blah blah, look I don't know why this all came about. 

I'm more fascinated with how my Twitter and Facebook revolved around a dress for 24 hours +. Immediately, one of my first thoughts was about brand ownership and how the tanned PR girls behind the brand are already planning their next Ibiza trip because of the freakish surge in publicity. What, it's true! Look... 

34.7?! The price of the dress (£50) makes it so incredibly accessible so it makes sense that people want to buy into this hype.



It's even rumoured that the brand, Roman Originals are going to create a white and gold version of the dress because of the overwhelming interest. Can you imagine how much they are cashing in right now? Who had even heard of the brand before (no offence)... 

This all started from a girl on Tumblr who posted the infamous image because a group of her friends couldn't decide on the colour. Who knew that one image could turn into a viral phenomenon so quickly? Instantly, the hashtag #TheDress was created and everyone and their mother was debating online. 

Even Kim Kardashian joined in! She's now back showing off her arse some more but hey, she still tweeted about it...

From Taylor Swift to Cara Delevigne, every celebrity had an opinion. For 24-48 hours, the realm of social media had an air of togetherness. Everyone was talking about the same thing and it just wouldn't stop. The bridge between celebrity and average human being was almost broken because everyone pushed aside their hate for Kim's bank account and laughed about such a light-hearted topic. 

Recently, I was at an SEO event that Tug Agency held for bloggers. It was such a good experience as I got to learn from experts in the field about their tips on having a worthwhile social media presence and building a following. 

Can you spot me? I look half-asleep but I promise I was engaged! 
It was so interesting to me that I took away something that everyone (including myself) is missing out on: social media = SOCIAL interaction. It works best when people talk to each other and tap into people's personal lives instead of sharing boring information on their brand or merely tweeting a blog post/new product and hoping somebody reads or buys it. I thought I would mention the event as it has really got me thinking about the power of social media, especially in light of #TheDress frenzy. 

Because this was such a personal debate and it involved every individual's opinion and eyesight, it made sharing opinions very natural and easygoing. For a moment, people weren't fighting over terrorism or the next election but rather an optical illusion and with this sense of togetherness came branding success for Roman Originals. 

I truly think that this a learning experience for brands and PR agencies. It takes just one person anywhere in the world to share an image and it could spark an international debate. When we have these personal, cheery surges of conversation and real social interaction, it can do wonders. I think we will see more instances like this in the future. Probably not as large-scale as #TheDress but it does get you thinking... Who will be the next brand to cash in on the power of social media debate?