Everyone knows the Internet is capable of spreading information at the speed of light, but getting something to go viral is something that even the biggest marketers have a hard time doing right. Very few things, like the color of a dress for example, break through the ceiling and become instantly viral in a matter of minutes.
On Thursday, February 26, “What color is the dress?” became a universally recognized question, and an Internet obsession along the lines of kittens and celebrities. Buzzfeed published a story at 6:14PM PST, with the photo of the dress based on a Tumblr page. The hue put the entire world in a spin as people instantly took sides. Is it white and gold? Or is it blue and black? The original poster mentioned that her mother had sent her the photo and from there, the photo was shared around among friends who all seemed to disagree.
In a matter of hours, celebrities like Taylor Swift were weighing in on the matter. Memes came from all over the globe mocking the debate. When Buzzfeed posted the article, the story notched-up a record-breaking 20.8 million views.
So why is there such a big divide? Science intervened just in time to explain why some people where seeing the dress strictly blue and black or white and gold, and why others were going crazy wanting to jump in traffic because they saw both. For a fact, we know the photo is over-exposed, but because of this, it’s the way the light is entering our eyes that we see it differently. Usually the system works just fine. But this image has hit some perceptual boundary that changes the color.
The team at WIRED took to Photoshop to nail down the real color of the dress which undeniably came down to a brownish tint and tinted blues. There seems to be no black at all in the photo. If you look at the RGB numbers for the second to last swatch without looking at the color, you may think the color would be orange by looking at the mix.
The Internet may still remain poles-apart over where the article of clothing falls in the color spectrum. Even though a more accurate photo of the dress has surfaced. (#itsactuallyblackandblue). But #thedress, and the speed of which the debate over it spread, goes to show just how connected we really are.
Take a look at how big brands are jumping on the viral dress bandwagon today.