We May Wear the Pants but We’re Not in Control.

The last two days, social media platforms around the world have been filled with angry users who want to know one answer: Is the damn dress black and blue or white and gold. The answer à the dress is black and blue. White and Gold people do not stop reading here – you are not crazy; I too have seen white and gold. If you’re really curious to know the science behind why we see different colors, check out The Science of Why No One Agrees on the Color of this Dress. I personally gave up care half an hour ago (kicking stress out of my life); I am more interested in explaining why the dress has went viral and what this tells us about the impact social media has on our lives.

A List of Relevant Topics to be concerned about in the World:

  • Poverty
  • Hunger
  • Climate Change
  • The Economy
  • International Terrorism
  • Availability of Energy
  • Increasing Global Population
  • Spread of Infectious Disease
  • Armed Conflict
  • Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons

With all of the problems in the world, we are in tears over the color of a dress that no one can seem to agree on. I have read countless articles that are attempts to determine the color of the dress but I believe we have a far bigger issue at hand: Why is this such a great concern? Well, I have an answer: because of our inability to escape social media.

If you’re alive and on the web I know you’ve seen the dress, the articles, and the furious users who are making their best effort at articulating a compelling reason as to why the dress is the color he or she believes. Issues relevant on social media are inescapable and information we intake is no longer up to us, but everyone we follow. It’s the Bullwhip Effect but for Social Media! Literally. The bullwhip effect of business is an observed phenomenon in forecast-driven distribution channels. It refers to a trend of larger and larger swings in inventory in response to changes in customer demand. In Layman’s terms it means a small change can create a big impact.

The controversy over the color of this dress probably stems from a conversation amongst a small group of friends that ended on their followers’ timelines. As more and more people joined the conversation, the more relevant the issue became. Before long, the world was talking about it and CNN was working hard to get out an article on it.

This goes to show that users and journalists (thanks CNN) aren’t choosing what conversations to partake in. We’re all thrown into the social media arena and we choose to swim, by furthering the conversation, or sink into irrelevance.


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