Pippa, Planking, Politics and Party Hats

May 24, 2011 6:15 pm

A run-down of the most popular viral content to come out of the past few weeks…

In terms of viral content, the past few weeks have left us spoiled for choice. The Royal Wedding, taking down of Osama bin Laden after a 10-year manhunt and the rapidly spreading planking phenomenon (which is surely deserving of its own special category in the Darwin Awards) have all been trending topics in that time…

Pippa Middleton

In the wake of her sleek and stunning appearance as the Duchess of Cambridge’s maid of honour at the ‘wedding of the century’, Pippa Middleton has caused quite a stir. For many watching, it was the sight of a well-sculpted (and seemingly un-spanx-encumbered) bottom of Ms Middleton sashaying down the aisle behind the bride-to-be that set social media alight. The svelte sister-in-law to the future king has developed quite a following online, with the ‘Pippa Middleton Ass Appreciation Society’ Facebook page receiving over 220,000 likes.

Then, of course, in response to her global popularity, the inevitable topless sunbathing photos were released, ensuring that even during and after the recent tornado in Auckland, ‘Pippa Middleton’ was still the most-searched term in New Zealand. With magazines rushing to cash in on the ‘other’ Middleton’s popularity, we’re guessing the sting of being the sister who didn’t marry the prince will have subsided considerably.

That hat

Speaking of asses, the other viral megastar to come out of the royal wedding was the hat that made one out of Princess Beatrice. Despite the fact that several other guests (including the ever fashion-forward Victoria Beckham) embraced the odd trend of what we shall dub the ‘forehead hat’, nothing could dull the ridicule that poor Beatrice received for her apricot-coloured abomination. The hat has become a global in-joke, with circulating memes ranging from topical to utterly ridiculous.

Osama and Obama

The killing of Osama bin Laden was up there with the few global events that could overshadow the royal wedding, which is why it is fortunate for the media that the events happened a few days apart. In the aftermath of the initial breaking story, it was the rumoured photographic proof that went viral – in two senses of the word.

Facebook viruses that promised links to photos of Osama bin Laden’s corpse were rife in the weeks following his death, and Twitter was lit up with trending topics. Like Pippa Middleton’s derriere, the event sparked efforts to cash in, with Disney buying the trademark ‘SEAL Team 6’ a mere two days after the kill was announced. No doubt they’re planning to franchise the new national heroes with merchandise and… dare we suggest… a themed ride at Disneyland? The happiest place on earth indeed.


A new viral phenomenon has recently come to light, brought to the media’s attention first through the arrest of a man in Queensland and, later, through the death of another from the same state. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, ‘planking’ is the practise of lying flat with your legs pointed and arms rigid at your sides, showing no facial expression. You then have a photo taken, and post the photo on a social networking site.

After the arrest of a man in Gladstone caused mainstream media to take note of the odd new craze, we had a spate of live planking from well-known television shows, with Karl Stefanovic, Kerri-Anne and the folks at Ten News getting in on the act. However, after a man fell to his death attempting to plank on a seventh-storey balcony, the humour – but not the popularity – has gone out of the craze.


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Image sources: Pedestrian, Buzznet and Blogspot


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