Above: A meme parodying the Break the Internet Kim Kardashian Paper magazine cover
Anyone who has been online, or who, let’s face it, has stepped out of the house in the past couple of days, will have seen THAT picture of Kim Kardashian and her gigantic, shiny bottom (except my office room mate it turns out – but let’s gloss over that).
Just in case you have been elsewhere over the past couple of days though, the image I’m referring to is on the front of Paper magazine. It’s a cheeky picture (so to speak) of Kim Kardashian looking knowingly over her shoulder at the camera, wearing nothing but a pearl choker, long black gloves and a bottle and a half of Johnson’s Baby Lotion. Her famous derriere is on full display and seems more enormous than can be humanly possible on a woman whose waist is probably only the circumference of my head.
Beneath the image are the words: Break the Internet Kim Kardashian
It reads like a command. And we know it’s never going to happen as Kim is the internet. While some live or die by the sword, Kim lives or dies by the world wide web. And at the moment it is holding strong under the millions and millions of tweets, retweets and shares of this image and the thousands of memes which have been inspired by it.
If it wasn’t for Twitter, or the Daily Mail website, most of us wouldn’t have seen or heard of this image. Much less be talking about it. Most of us wouldn’t even know who Kim Kardashian is. Or care. The only reason we are talking about it (including me) is because everybody else is. It’s a self perpetuating cycle and an excellent illustration of the power of the internet and digital technology and the way that it has changed the way news is delivered – with readers and their appetites driving the news, rather than the news being prescribed to its audience by journalists. The one-way channel of news delivery is no more. And if you don’t believe me, check out these reports on the Kardashian bottom by respected industry titles including the Telegraph, the Independent and the Guardian. I don’t think any of these titles would have covered Buttgate if it wasn’t for the audience appetite for the story.
In a world where news and information fights to be seen alongside other news and information – important things; news of conflict, hope, death, human crisis, frailty, happiness and love – there is Kim Kardashian’s bottom and all that it stands for.
UPDATE: As an experiment to demonstrate the power of the subject, I measured the number of views I got on this page over the 24 hours from publication, with the prediction that it would be my most viewed post to date. Here are the results:
On publishing this post I promoted it in the way I have promoted all of my other blog posts – by uploading the link and a picture to my Rebecca Whittington Media Facebook page which I then shared on my personal Facebook account as well, tweeting about it twice on Twitter at the time of publication using appropriate hashtags and sharing the blog link on Linkedin the following morning. I deliberately didn’t promote more on social media than I have with any other posts so I could measure the impact of the story and keywords.
On Twitter the tweet reading ‘# # a prime example of how digital has turned the tables on traditional news sourcing rebeccawhittingtonmedia.com/2014/11/13/no-…‘ was favourited, retweeted and replied to by one follower who himself had 1,810 followers. It was also retweeted only by another follower who had 587 followers. I have not looked to see if it was retweeted from either acccount – but if I do later I will update here.
On Facebook the post on my Rebecca Whittington Media page reached 201 people and the post link had 36 clicks on it. Two Facebook users (one being me) shared the post from the page. There were two likes on the post link from the page and two likes on the shared posts.
I can’t see the stats for my Linkedin profile as I’m too tight to pay for premium, so I will have to factor that non-result into the mix.
On returning to the blog today just before 4pm I found ‘No ifs, no butts’ – my sixth blog post to date – had enjoyed a total of 141 views. Previously my most popular post waswhich had 57 views in total, followed by with just 16 views. These are views of the individual posts alone – my blog page as a whole has had 45 views – suggesting the majority of views on the Kardashian post and some views of the Twitter handle post had come from either direct links from Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin or specific search terms which in turn had seen the post listed in the search results.
On the day of publication there were 129 views on the blog alone and 152 on my website as a whole. The views on my site were from the following countries:
Out of those views 53 came from Facebook and 15 from Twitter with a further 10 coming from a Facebook source. Only one view came from a search engine term (term could not be identified).
Today there were 12 views on the post and 17 views on the website overall. The views on my site were from the following countries:
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Out of those views 3 came from Facebook and 1 from Twitter. Only one view came from a search engine term (term could not be identified).
Overall it’s definitely fair to say this experiment lived up to the prediction that this would be my most popular blog post by a country mile. As predicted, the inclusion of hot search terminology and popular subject (Kim Kardashian, butt/bottom) meant strangers from far and wide were flocking to see what the links had to offer. What did baffle me was how few people seemed to arrive through search terms. In fact, it was not fully clear from the data offered by Wordpress what the method was for 50 of the visitors to the page on the first day – only 79 were accounted for. This is something I would possibly be able to find out if I paid a subscription to WordPress, but, as I don’t, unfortunately it remains a mystery.
I was also quite surprised by how many of those visitors were from countries other than the UK. It’s obvious Kim Kardashian’s bottom knows no international boundaries.
Since the experiment I have enjoyed a raise in the number of daily visitors to my site, particularly from the US. However, what is interesting is that it’s not this post catching people’s attention, but instead is The Will Cornick dilemma which seems to be gaining the most individual visitors.
This has been an interesting experiment which has inspired a study I am now working on as part of my research project – I’ll update on this blog when I can reveal more.