By S. MOLLY DOMINICK
Anyone who has recently logged onto the Internet (or spoken to another human being who happens to use the Internet) has likely been bombarded with this question: What color is the dress?
Originally a post on Tumblr, the image of this controversial color-changing dress has circulated around the Internet overnight—and not just on social media. Major news organizations have entire articles discussing this optical illusion, including (but certainly not limited to) Fox News, CNN, Wired, The Independent, Daily Mail and The Guardian.
The outbreak of this controversy occurred only yesterday. No discussion is needed to know that an optical illusion is not normally headline news, particularly when a “murder spree” across multiple homes in Missouri leaving nine dead occurred on the same day. I repeat, there is no discussion. Yet news coverage of the story has already become pervasive.
So what makes this situation special?
Is it an indication of how deeply entrenched social media has become in our society, and so news organizations have an obligation to report this story because it now matters deeply to the public? Do news organizations need to reevaluate what is important to include “events” on social media?
Or was this specific event on social media so insanely widespread that it called for news coverage, based purely on its abnormal scope?
But would the event have become this widespread if news media chose not to cover it in the first place? Which came first — The chicken or the egg?
These are the inane questions that keep me up at night, ladies and gentlemen.
…Just for the record, the dress is blue.