Teens are making an anonymous app a hit this summer—but there’s a catch, Pokémon Go’s first live event is a viral disaster, the legendary race between Olympian and shark belly flops (and the internet reacts accordingly), fans rally around Microsoft Paint to give it a second chance, plus more viral stories to know this week…
The Hot Anonymous App of the Summer
There’s a new anonymous app in town, and teens are making it the most popular free download in the App Store. Sarahah—roughly translated as “honestly” in Arabic—has had viral growth, especially this summer after the debut of its English app on June 13th. Since then, teens have embraced the anonymous platform, which one 11th grader describes as “a way for teens to continue the drama and say things about people without revealing their identity.” Clearly, as with anonymous apps Yik Yak, Ask.fm, and Whisper before it, Sarahah is plagued with negativity and trolls—prompting some to wonder how long-lasting its popularity is.
Pokémon Go’s first ever live event did not go as planned. The sold out fest brought together 20,000 fans—some paying as much as $400 for tickets through scalpers—all hoping to capture rare Pokémon, play together, and participate in a brand new challenge. Unfortunately, all of that depended on the app working…which it did not. After many waited up to two hours to enter the Chicago park where the fest was held, technical difficulties plagued the game, with players at one point chanting “We can’t play” as Niantic’s CEO addressed the angry crowd. Though they seemed to address most of the problems as the day went on, the app refunded tickets, and gave attendees $100 of Pokémon Go credits along with a new legendary Pokémon Lugia to make up for the disaster. Yet another reminder that live events are not as easy to pull off as they might seem…
Michael Phelps’ Shark Race Bellyflops
To kick off Shark Week 2017, Discovery Channel massively hyped a first-of-its-kind event: a race between Olympian Michael Phelps and a Great White Shark. (!!!!) Fans literally put #PhelpsVsShark in their calendars, and awaited the big show. Unfortunately, it wasn’t what they expected. Instead of facing off against an actual shark in a pool as so many envisioned, the race was simulated in CGI. As The New York Times’ headline put it: “Michael Phelps ‘Raced’ a ‘Shark,’ Kind Of. Not Really.” Of course, the internet let their displeasure and disappointment be known, in a slew of tweets and other posts—some of which racked up thousands of shares. Phelps addressed the hubbub in a Facebook Live session that racked up over half a million views.
Who knew there was so much love for a computer program born in 1985? This week, news spread that Microsoft would be killing off Microsoft Paint in its next update. The program—“prized for its relative simplicity”—received a sudden outpouring of support online, as fans objected to the “depreciation” and mourned the loss of the tool. Their vocal objections may have saved Paint. Microsoft soon announced that the app will live on in the Windows Store, to the delight of fans. Score one for the power of the internet! (Or was it all a publicity stunt?)
One Brand Learns the Importance of Fonts in a Viral Bag Disaster
It’s a #FontFail for the ages. When BellChic.com released a fun bag declaring “My Favorite Color Is Glitter” it’s safe to say they didn’t expect it to go viral for the reason it did. But, thanks to a lowercase “g” and a cursive font, the message appeared to read, “My Favorite Color Is Hitler”—and Twitter noticed. Hitler jokes abounded, the tweet pointing out the error has been retweeted over 45,000 times, and the story was picked up by multiple news outlets. The boutique has apologized profusely and released an updated design of the tote, which more clearly says “Glitter.” Note to all brands: fonts are very, very important.
This week in links we’re passing: A moment between Gal Gadot and a young Wonder Woman fan (dressed as Wonder Woman) shows the importance of representation in films, a fake out secret menu Starbucks drink goes viral (spoiler alert: it’s Gatorade), Delta was expertly trolled by a groom whose wedding suit was lost on a flight, and Nicki Minaj delights fans with her first forays into Snapchat.
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