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Viral Potential: The Friday Don’t Miss List

The hilarious, the smart, and the sad of what went viral this week, from the ESPY Awards Millennialized to a fandom convention that backfired into a ball pit…


1. Your Extra Hour in the Ball Pit

We decoded the memes taking over the internet right now, in case you had no idea why flower beards and #JaredHugginLeto were a thing. Tumblr is the epicenter for many memes, but the sites’ own viral potential backfired on them with the disaster that was DashCon. Aiming to be the “largest gathering of Tumblr users to date,” the user-created convention had to make last ditch efforts to raise $17,000 to secure the hotel facility, inconveniencing attendees and discouraging well-respected guests like podcast Welcome to Night Vale from even showing up. In return, the organizers of DashCon promised “an extra hour in the ball pit” to attendees, and sparked a meme you don’t want to miss. Images of the small, sad ball pit, alone on the concrete floor of a room, went viral, with some referencing hell and others combining it with “I’m feeling so attacked right now” for a meme-a-ball (sorry) moment DashCon might never live down.


2. A Social Experiment

The fight for positivity on social media is alive and kicking, and sites like Vine, We Heart It, and Tumblr are encouraging users to “be nice” in small but effective ways. Encountering negativity on social media may cause stress and frustration for users, so don’t miss the social experiment that is turning around Facebook’s emotional manipulation study and putting user’s happiness into their own hands. 99 Days of Freedom, a movement created by Dutch agency Just, has participants pledge to take a 99-day break from Facebook. The experiment offers easy how-to steps to avoid account deactivation, like replacing profile pictures with the experiment’s logo and temporarily deleting the mobile app. Participants can also sign up for the mood measuring study to track their emotional levels at three intervals throughout the purge to gauge whether or not time away from Facebook increases their happiness.


3. Make My Night

Companies selling pre-packaged experiences to Millennials are thriving by feeding into their desire to be given something interesting to talk about. Celebrity-fueled startup IfOnly sold 2,000 experiences in its first year, so you shouldn’t miss Heineken’s take on the trend. The brewing company is rolling out a multi-platform geo-location indicator called “Where Is Next” that will use real-time social activity to pinpoint where urban Millennials should adventure to next. The tag @wherenext will be used to find hot spots in NYC, London, and Rio de Janeiro, and a Google Maps micro-site will cull tweets, check-ins, and photos from various social media outlets to give a preview for what is in store. Heineken found that FOMO (fear of missing out) is a key motivation for Millennials in cities to get out, and something this global “social compass” experiment aims to solve.


4. The ESPYs Gets Millennialized

Airing just a few days after the World Cup Final—the most-watched soccer game in U.S. history—came the ESPY Awards, and there was more than just sports on the agenda for Millennial viewers. With Drake hosting, the awards show turned into a night with real viral potential, airing short sketches that included a cameo from Chris Brown and a rendition of “Let It Go,” a new spin on the meme of Lance Stephenson blowing into LeBron James’ ear named the “Lance Cam,” and two original songs with a guest appearance from ‘90s R&B hero Brian McKnight.


5. Next Big Sound

Followers and subscribers aren’t the sole markers of who will make it big online. Unique content creation, staying real from the start, and cross-media efforts have been instrumental for the three YouTubers we told you to follow yesterday, and music analytics company Next Big Sound is using social media consumption to rank who is creating buzz online. The Next Big Sound chart refreshes everyday to reflect who is leading in conversation and listeners, and we don’t want you to miss a YouTube artist in the mix. Singer-songwriter Jacob Whitesides appeared at the top of the chart on Monday and at just 16-years-old has an EP titled 3 AM that released last week on iTunes, plus a slew of covers on both YouTube and Vine for his over 500,000 collective followers. Jacob will be touring alongside other young talent this year in the OMG Music Fest and the RunAround Tour.