If you are less interested in the way in which your brain perceives colors and more determined to find out how a picture of a dress had the power to break the Internet and fuel one of the hottest debates of the year, chances are that you are also wondering why #TheDress made history this month.
The dress that managed to go viral online is a chameleonic product in its own right: some think it’s blue and black; others swear it’s actually white and gold (while more than a few debaters label it as an eye sore regardless of its color and end this discussion without any further ado).
#TheDress Debate: What’s The Real Science Here?
The science behind this controversy provides a logical explanation for this weird phenomenon: the human brain has been trained to focus on the actual relationship created between colors, and not just the hues themselves. This hypothesis, introduced by Beau Lotto, a reputable professor of neuroscience from the University College London and cited by BBC in a recent article, allows us to reach the conclusion that people interpret the chromatics of the dress differently simply because they focus on different aspects; some pay more attention to the actual colors of the dress, while others “decode” the hues based on the background light or the shade of their very own computer monitor.
Defining the Color or Virality
Long story short, #TheDress debate made you laugh, made you raise an eyebrow or made you schedule an appointment with a local ophthalmologist. Science may be able to explain why people see this dress in different color combos, but how could one justify the virality of the picture that started and fueled the most ample social media conversation at an incredible speed, becoming the number one trending topic in the United States overnight?
3 Reasons Why #TheDress Became America’s Favorite Conversation Starter
How did this controversial (and in reality, awfully plain) dress manage to simultaneously gather more than 670,000 people on Buzzfeed, convince 900,000 visitors to take a poll and give no less than 10 million people at least one good reason to read the entire post? Here are a few plausible reasons why the blue and black/white and gold dress has succeeded in creating quite a stir worldwide.
- We All Like to Paint a Pretty Picture in the Colors of Controversy. We all love mysteries and strange phenomena that defy our logic. Moreover, we appreciate one-of-a-kind topics with a peculiar novelty factor that feeds our curiosity. Undoubtedly, the dress debate has stayed in the public eye for quite some time now due to its ability to bring people together and make them question an otherwise insignificant aspect of their mundane existence.
- People Tend to Share Positive Stories. A recent article published by CNN highlights another important reason that somewhat justifies the ever-growing popularity of the chameleonic dress. Readers are always fond of positive stories that make them giggle, laugh or shed a tear (of joy). Tired of shocking “hard news” and the drama associated with their own daily lives, they turn to the simplest forms of entertainment that evoke constructive emotions for a change. Pictures of “the dress” may have made you frown or experience frustration for a few seconds, but at the end of the day they have also given you the opportunity to start a relaxing conversation with your loved ones and get your daily worries off your mind. All in all, this is what viral content actually does: it sits people down, helps them unwind and gives them something to talk about.
- The Dress Debate Has All the Main Attributes of a Grand Viral Hit. Unique, unplanned and unpolished, the pictures of the black and blue (or white and gold) dress still have all the elements of a major viral hit. According to Neetzan Zimmerman, the well-known viral content expert, #TheDress defines the concept of Viral Singularity. In other words, it is divisive, dumb and extremely sharable. It responds to the readers’ need for fun, uncomplicated yet somewhat challenging content that would undoubtedly make a great party conversation starter. During the dullest event, instead of chatting about the weather, you could always try to find out how your new interlocutor perceives the colors of this iconic dress.
As Long As It’s Viral, It Doesn’t Really Matter If It’s Black or White
Aside from giving us the impression that we may be colorblind, #TheDress debate has also inspired another moment of revelation: the one in which you realize that crafting viral content is not as difficult as people say it is.
Here are the main ingredients that you should combine to take your story to a whole new level: a fun, uncomplicated piece of information generating positive emotions, a little bit of controversy created around your story and a new perspective that will make your readers question everything they have ever read, heard or spoken.
When you craft content that encourages people to quarrel, take sides and share their (unsolicited) opinion via social networks you are automatically prepping yourself for success, while getting ready to step into the spotlight.
Image source: yibada.com