They have been going on a while, the viral Facebook status updates. I was first asked to post my bra-color in my status, which has turned into a mystery as no one knows who started it. A day later came the question about the length of my hair, and I’m sure there has been many more like them.
After that came the doppelganger week, where you where supposed to publish a picture of your celebrity look-a-like as you profile picture. This caused some drama as it might violate the terms of service for the network as first published by Cnet. But there is still people participating in this.
Because of these trends I got the question from @Thrimpth on twitter:
At the time the idea that companies, organizations or even blogs could benefit from this hit me right away. But I had not developed my thought more than that at time.
Today the next viral campaign spread and indeed there is a website that is getting a lot of attention for it. Urban Dictionary is the “winner” of being the first to actually benefit from these weekly trends.
Urban Dictionary is the dictionary you wrote. Define your world.
The trend is that people look up their name on the urban dictionary and then post the result for it in their Facebook status. Of course you can also find the word for “To look up your own name on Urban Dictionary, either for definition or myspace useage” which is Urbaning. So technically the latest Facebook trend is called Urbaning, and indeed it is a trend, as the urban dictionary page for Urbaning is in the top ten most popular webpages right now according to the alexa toolbar.
The dictionary’s visitor count changed + 143 % yesterday (Feb 2), according to alexa. Considering the fact that most online media journalists and bloggers just began writing about this trend around 24 hours ago, this is only starting. My guess is that because of this viral trend Urban Dictionary will double their visitor-count five times at least because of this.
Now, an interesting consideration to take here is that there is a big chance that the creators of the urban dictionary did not initiated the campaign themselves, but simply some user who saw the potential it had. Though regardless of who started it, many people will now know about the dictionary.
Many companies might think that they would have a hard time implementing a trend like this, because their message, product or service is not as easy to spread or and interesting to share. But I would have to disagree. There is a lot of successful viral campaign’s that wasn’t too connected with the initiators. Take the fun theory that I wrote about a while ago, I’m sure that people did not think about Volkswagen when they first found out about it. But I would say that most of the people mentioning it to a friend will know who created it. And they did not scream “we did it,” they simply but their logo in the end of the clips.
Thus, sure Urban Dictionary had an obvious “pitch” for starting a trend on Facebook. However, a good idea is a good I idea, and I think any great idea could make it.
What do you think? Could any company, organization, blog or website start a viral trend on Facebook? Have you seen any other facebook trends that I have missed? Do you think that anyone benefited from the previous viral status updates?