The Great Unknown of Social Media Soirees

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There once was a girl named Jess, who wanted to celebrate her 16th birthday with more people than had turned up to her previous birthday (two). Now Jess, who lives in a Northern Sydney suburb, decided to create an “Open Event” on Facebook with her phone number and address clearly visible. Not realising the privacy implications of this, what proceeded over two and a half days was the very definition of going viral!

Cancelled at a few thousand but copied by pranksters, it then spread even faster and received 200k confirmed attendees by 8.45AM this morning, not to mention another 450k awaiting a response.

The party has since been shut down online as authorities have been notified. And according to sources living in Jess’s street, police have been patrolling the area as of last night.

So what was all the fuss about?

I think one of the things is that people online felt that they were part of something kinda big. Followers were curious to see how big it could get and become part of a historical online event in the ilk of “Kate’s Party” or Corey Worthington’s antics that made the headlines. That and to also be entertained by the smorgasbord of posted comments – from the utterly grotesque to the comical and everything in between.

Personally, I found the incredible speed of growth of this event the most exciting – with at one pointing clocking a pretty phenomenal 1000 new attendees a minute. Now call me a nerd, but this rapid growth in numbers is something akin to what I imagine Zuckerberg himself first felt when people started signing up to Facebook itself.

I believe Facebook, the medium, cannot be blamed. To further promote my nerdiness I shall borrow a quote out of Spiderman, “With great power, comes great responsibility”. Facebook is an incredibly powerful medium that has to be respected and used properly.

This event clearly points to a need for a better understanding of online privacy settings. Well that and the need for a bigger party venue this Saturday.

Written by Benoit Thorp.