I’m sure it seemed like a good idea at the time. A teenage girl in the Netherlands put up an invitation for her 16th birthday party. But a moment of carelessness, which teenagers tend to have a lot of, allowed the invitation to go out to loddy-dotty-everybody. The invite went viral. Police estimate that approximately 30,000 Facebook users got wind of the party.
Some say that the police and media made it worse by publicizing the SNAFU, and asking people not to come. Maybe.
It’s been said that 10% of people will take up 90% of your time, and true to form about 3000 people showed up and made quite a ruckus. Windows were broken, bottles were thrown, houligans prowled the streets. It’s an anecdotal cautionary tale about privacy online and snowballs. The funny thing here, is that this mob response was entirely unintentional.
Every day people all over the world plan and strategize ways to capture the power of social media. Some people even get paid to do it. But nothing seems to beat the catalyst of happenstance, which is what makes anything that goes viral eternally fascinating.