Let’s all take a trip down memory lane to about five years ago, when Ellen DeGeneres hosted the Oscars, snapped a quick celebrity-filled selfie on her phone, and posted it to Twitter. The moment of perfectly manufactured spontaneity took the internet like wildfire, and quickly became the most shared tweet of the time. It was a perfect encapsulation of the online moment; platforms were only just becoming ubiquitous, yet users weren’t jaded with their dominance. A celebrity could take a picture of themselves with their fellow celebrity friends, and others could share in the unbridled enthusiasm. How cute, how authentic, we thought.
That, however, was 2014. We’ve just entered 2019, and the online image taking the world by storm now is . . . an egg.
Yes, you read that right: an egg. As of this morning, a picture of a light-brown egg has become the most-liked picture ever to hit Instagram–with currently over 25 million likes (yes, you read that right). It beat out Kylie Jenner’s Instagram post announcing her child. Sorry Kylie!
I know you’re on pins and needles to see this beautiful egg, so here you go:
It’s . . . an egg!
Though the egg has eclipsed Jenner on the individual post’s like-count, it pales in comparison to her follower tally. She even responded, posting a video of herself throwing an egg on the sidewalk. Look, she’s in on the joke, too!
It’s an impressive achievement for a random account to do, nonetheless, and perhaps explains the online moment we’re currently in. Services like Instagram and Twitter have become dominant modes of our existence. Before, they were new platforms people had fun experimenting with and using to connect with others. Now, they’re an extension of our being–they are how people consume news, personal updates, celebrity content, and everything in between. Sometimes social media is fun, but it’s a different type of fun. The novelty has worn off.
It’s extremely telling that, up until now, the most popular post on Instagram was by one of the Jenner/Kardashians. They are a perfect illustration of what the online world has become: They’re a family who rose to cultural relevance by strategically telegraphing their lives to the world and milking a profit every step of the way. They encapsulate the aesthetic and power that platforms like Instagram have engendered. That a picture of an egg, simply because it’s such a stark difference from everything else, would overtake the Kardashian’s dominance is perhaps prescient.
Maybe this means we’re at an inflection point, one where social media users are fatigued by the onslaught of influencers and coiffed authenticity. People are thirsty for something, anything, that’s irreverent and different and reminds them of the online of yore. On the other hand, maybe a lot of people just like eggs.