I got into bed, opened up Instagram and just searched it.
I’ll be honest, I don’t believe it — i doubt its legitimacy entirely. How can you go viral over something so, pointless. Not even pointless but, entirely unsupported from day 1.
Swipe left, Apple News… It’s even all over the press, the post has overtaken Kylie Jenner’s baby photo and become the most liked image on the internet.
Looking at this search results list in shock, my eyes were drawn elsewhere. Towards the stacks and stacks of users with the same username as the official page? It can’t be…
But it wasn’t.
Instead, my eyes had played a trick on me, I should of known better. What I was looking at was 50 users who had changed their instagram nickname to world_record_egg.
Why? Why was this happening.
I decided to dig deeper. Clicking on profiles to try and understand this.
My initial conclusion
- They’re changing their name to get views, when people search the egg post like I did, they will likely click on these pages too and in turn they get more views. Abstract?…
- They’re genuinely so devoted to the world_egg_record that they’ve rebranded their Instagram page for it’s cause.
Who would do that?
Everyone on Instagram is about their image, it’s the purpose of Instagram. Who would change their actual nickname to a random world record attempt handle? Questions, but no data…
So I did some number crunching
…and it blew me away. Most of the pages were huge repost pages. The kinds of pages you can post anything you want as long as you pay the page owner. The growth they would receive from the exposure from search results is decimal compared to their existing following. While looking at the 50 users I identified pages that had been likely purchased because they had no posts, no followers, ex-dormant accounts.
They were all repost pages. Then I found something else.
Followed by Drake and Whiz Khalifa. He claims to be apart of the world record egg and this article mentions he’s some sort of social media marketer. He catches my eye because he’s the first REAL person to change their name, in fact one of the only people with more than 100k followers.
Could this be the owner of world_record_egg?
The more I looked through the other accounts the more I stared to draw unsupported conclusions. It was all starting to feel like a conspiracy.
When you take the data and plot it on a graph, it’s heavy, with an average follower count of 1.4 million.
However, on a logarithmic scale, the baseline is adjusted and outliers removed.
At this point I decided to start writing this article, at 02:30am.
Drawing the dots with the data, it just felt wrong. It looks like a marketing exercise that was planned and executed.
Social media marketing
Having done the influencer gig, I know how people pay for stuff on instagram. I’ve been offered money to post on a huge scale campaign for large brands, and i’ve been offered $100 for a random post about xyz product. That said, I know 100’s of other people who take the $100 frequently. They’re easily bought, or can be.
Now here is 50 users with huge followings changing their single most prominent instagram tool to a random, overnight viral fad. Not to mention those in the list that are bot pages, Russian bot pages. They’re hardly ‘real’ people and the ones that are don’t have much going on other than themselves.
I don’t want to make a sweeping statement because there isn’t a lot of evidence. It’s a long shot at best.
Realistically, how hard would that be? To pay 50 users a couple hundred bucks for a shoutout that’s viral-worthy, change their nickname in exchange for huge visibility.
What’s the motive? I don’t know — there has to be one to test this theory, but I think the data is interesting enough to question.
Why does it matter if it’s true?
It doesn’t — I got carried away with the Instagram API. Although a part of me loves a good conspiracy about social media manipulation and thinks it’s outright crazy you can get this much real-world visibility through methods that aren’t organic or genuine indicators of ‘viral’.