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How a stock image of an egg took all of social media by storm

Don’t read this if you don’t want to lose brain cells.

Just a warning: don’t read this if you don’t want to lose brain cells.

If you believe that everything happens for a reason, this will change your mind. It happened for no reason and everyone is going to forget about it–probably sooner than later–but it’s funny while it’s still relevant.

On January 4th, someone created an Instagram account called @world_record_egg and posted a stock photo of a simple egg against a white background with the caption, “Let’s set a world record together and get the most liked post on Instagram. Beating the current world record held by Kylie Jenner (18 million)!”

The photo has gotten over 50 million likes.

Kylie Jenner, for nearly a year, held the record for the photo with the most likes on Instagram–a picture of her baby daughter–until the egg arrived on the scene. This beautiful ovoid didn’t just beat Kylie’s record, it absolutely destroyed it, becoming not only the most-liked Instagram post, but the most-liked post of all time, anywhere.

So why did over 50 million people “like” this egg? People wanted a new most-liked post. They liked that photo because they wanted to dethrone Kylie’s record. It’s not that they had anything against Kylie, but there was something appealing about the idea of the triumph of a simple egg over Internet royalty. No doubt, soon everyone will turn on the egg and jump on the bandwagon of a new post.

Kylie has been good-humoured about the competition. She even made a video of herself breaking an egg. It’s good that she’s so lighthearted about the whole ordeal, even though on the inside she’s thinking that she had a baby for no reason.

So what’s so special about this egg anyways? The answer is nothing–it’s just a egg that a bunch of people liked on a media-sharing website. Also it’s been called Eugene, because in the age that we’re in everything thing has to have a name. The simplicity is why it blew up: people wanted to make it so the most popular image in the world is a stock image of an egg that you could find in the first row of a Google Image search. The original photographer,  Serghei Platanov,  is baffled. “My goal was to take a simple picture of an egg. For fun. Never ever I could think that it would be a sensation like this,” he said. “Egg is just an egg.” Platanov originally uploaded the egg photo to Shutterstock.  

This type of thing only works one time, if you try to recreate it, guaranteed it wouldn’t work. It’s so successful because people wanted to be part of something that’s bigger than themselves.

This idea of getting a random image to get a ton of likes wasn’t created by this account. People have attempted this numerous times but none of have ever even gotten close to the success of this. Sometimes you just get lucky and tap into the collective will of the Internet.

The photo didn’t start gaining traction until around January 10th, but once it got around half a million likes, a bigger account posted it and it really blew up, a lot of people posted it on their story and told their followers to like it. The account creators didn’t pay anyone to promote it and haven’t done any publicity for the account. It was just the entire community on Instagram giving it free promotion.

The identity of  the owners created this account is a mystery as is any motivation behind the post beyond just having fun.

Now that the account has more than eight million followers (some of them call themselves the “egg gang”) the accounted posted another photo of an same egg, but this time with a minuscule crack in it, and no caption. People are freaking out about this egg cracking. What could it mean? My guess is that something’s going to come out of that egg. But the account hasn’t done much else. They have only published oversaturated egg memes to their story and given shoutouts to the early promoters of the egg before it blew up like Worldstar.

Like so many other social phenomenons, once they get big, they try to monetize themselves, which isn’t a bad thing, but it’s just so predictable. The account has started a merch store on which they’re selling low-quality hoodies and shirts which they sell for probably at least five times more than they pay for it. The merch design features slogans like “Egg Gang” or “I liked the egg” and many other boring designs.

I honestly don’t know what humanity will become if a stock photo of an egg gets more attention than the American government shutting down, but I guess we are finding out. Let’s just all pray that aliens aren’t watching us to decide if we are intelligent enough to live or die because I don’t think we would survive.

But hey, you never know, people could be studying the egg like we’re studying ancient Egyptians hieroglyphics nowadays. Hopefully this won’t be what represents the 21st century of the human race. 

But for now, let’s just enjoy this odd moment. Have a good day and remember to like the egg.

Image: PublicDomainPictures / George Hodan

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