The Washington Post
The Internet story of the year — perhaps of many years — began with a breezy, under-punctuated blog post on the Tumblr of some 21-year-old no one had previously heard of.
“Guys please help me,” the blogger wrote, ignorant of the fact that her words would echo in eternity. “Is this dress white and gold, or blue and black?”
“The dress,” of course, has since become a Web phenomenon of unparalleled virality: 73 million page views on the post itself, 550 tweets a minute, and, its peak, a veritable Everest of takes and think pieces. Buzzfeed, the outlet that first broke the story (insofar as it was a “story,” and swiping it from Tumblr counts as “breaking”), published 30 follow-ups within a week. They had, per the “viral guru” Neetzan Zimmerman, reached“Viral Singularity.”
But while the dress may have been singularly popular, the path it took to get there was increasingly commonplace. From the depths of Tumblr, it conquered the entire viral Web: Buzzfeed, Twitter, Facebook eventually.
“This seems to be the new Viral Cycle,” Zimmerman told Vice’s Adrianne Jeffries.
It’s impossible to conclusively quantify the meta trends of the viral Web, of course, even given the host of tools and consultants dedicated to that pursuit. But last week, when Pricenomics’s data team scraped Buzzfeed to see where the viral powerhouse finds its stories, it found that Tumblr came out on top — over YouTube, Reddit and Imgur.
It’s not just Buzzfeed, either. Since December, when Tumblr introduced a dashboard that made it far easier to access the site’s most popular content, references to Tumblr in blogs and other online media tracked by LexisNexis are up 75 percent.