Sam Landstra — Staff Writer
By now we’ve all seen it. Or at least 51.3 million of us have.
In just ten days, the Instagram account titled @world_record_egg cracked the record for most likes on a single Instagram post, shattering the previous record of 18 million held by Kylie Jenner’s announcement of the birth of her daughter, Stormi. Before Jenner, Beyoncé found herself at the top with her 2017 pregnancy announcement that garnered 11.3 million likes.
However, what separates @world_record_egg from its predecessors is that its picture wasn’t posted by social media titans running verified accounts, curating their pictures to absolute perfection. Rather, @world_record_egg simply posted a picture of a speckled tan egg with a caption reading “Let’s set a world record together and be the most liked post on Instagram. Beating the current world record held by Kylie Jenner (18 million)! We got this #LikeTheEgg #EggSoldiers #EggGang.”
Other Instagram accounts such as @theworldrecordnut and @world_record.hen have attempted to ride the coattails of the egg’s momentum but fell short.
I don’t think that anyone saw this coming. Avid social media users know that accounts such as @world_record_egg pop up rather frequently, attempting to break various like, favorite, or retweet records. When I first heard of the egg January 11, it was still millions of likes away from Kylie Jenner’s record. Although I liked the picture, I did not expect to hear of it again.
Nonetheless, through a collective effort from the Instagram community that had users sharing the post on their stories and tagging their friends in the comments, @world_record_egg became a phenomenon. Exhibiting true sportsmanship, Kylie Jenner even joined in on the fun by posting a video of herself cracking an egg on the hot California pavement with the caption, “Take that little egg.”
@world_record_egg’s rise to fame serves as an example of the ability social media wields to unite complete strangers around a common cause. Albeit many of these causes are largely trivial, some push for powerful and necessary social change.
Movements, such as the “Me Too” campaign and “Black Lives Matter,” have found social media as an effective breeding ground for gaining traction and relevancy. Since Alyssa Milano’s tweet from October 2017, where Milano asked her followers to reply with “me too” if they were ever a victim of sexual harassment or abuse, #MeToo has exploded with countless individuals coming forward to tell their stories. #BlackLivesMatter, from its inception in 2013, has been used nearly 30 million times on Twitter (as of May 1, 2018) as a method of highlighting injustices done to people of color.
Say what you like about how social media is oversaturated with people attempting to capitalize on the egg’s popularity–it’s true. But let’s not forget that the same phenomenon that allowed @world_record_egg to go viral also gave a voice to the voiceless in pursuit of a better, more equal world.