The Guilfordian

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Egg used to emphasize mental health

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Egg used to emphasize mental health

The Instagram Egg that recently cracked a world record is the best thing to ever sweep the Internet. With now over 52 million likes on Instagram, a picture of an egg posted by @world_record_egg surpassed the last record holder, Kylie Jenner, who had 18 million likes on her post. It has since become a meme and one of the biggest internet sensations of 2019.

I remember checking my phone one day and had received several texts from friends urging me to “like” the egg. I scrambled to find out what they were talking about, and as I opened the Instagram app several images of brown eggs infiltrated my feed. When I came across the original post I cracked up. I feel amusement and irony that nothing more than a stock image of a single brown egg could dethrone King Kylie.

Is the egg being held by a celebrity? Is it part of a popular YouTube channel pulling a stunt? Is it decorated with some sort of bling or message? Nope. It’s just an egg.

I think it’s amazing how quickly the trend of liking it spread. Within a matter of just 10 days, 35 million accounts had liked the post. What a time to be alive.

Originally, I supported the cause. The egg had all the markings of some sort of counter-culture campaign. If a celebrity who’s famous just for being famous and rich can get millions of likes, why can’t a silly little picture of an egg do the same?

It was like a populist revolution of social media. We were crowning an everyday egg as the ruler instead of someone with big money and fame. Most people liking the picture, including me, saw driving up the egg’s numbers as a way to show up Instagram celebrities around the world. The fact that the egg carried no meaning or intention of self-promotion was appealing.

The owner of the account was soon revealed to be Chris Godfrey, a 29-year-old in advertising. However, what came next was a major let down. Over the next few days, Godfrey posted more pictures of the egg, gradually breaking. Its final form turned out to be sponsored by Hulu… yet another thing that turned out to be a partnership for a meaningless ad.

It was so disappointing that the one light-hearted and meaningless thing that went viral turned out to have contact with yet another corporation. It just goes to show how easily we can be manipulated by social media; any social media content could be manufactured by any company.

Even after Humpty Dumpty had that great fall, all the attention was shifted over to promoting mental health nearly a month later. The final grand reveal on Feb. 4, the Monday after the Superbowl, was a video of the egg with drawn on faces carrying the message: “Hi. I’m the @world_record_egg. Recently I’ve started to crack. The pressure of social media is getting to me. If you’re struggling too, talk to someone. We got this.”

Beyond opening up our eyes to how anonymous the average person feels on social media networks, the Egg also conveyed a valuable message, linking talkingegg.info to people who feel the need to talk to someone.

I love the idea of putting all the instant viral fame and internet popularity towards a good cause. While this social media rags-to-riches tale appeared to carry good intentions after the “mental health vision,” I still think it’s just a stunt for good PR.

Despite the disappointing product relation, Omelettin’ this slide. For now, I’m staying on the sunny side up and listening to what the overly popular egg has to say.

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