News Response 5 – Another seemingly unimportant image goes viral

For this news response I decided to read “Cracking the Code: A Toddler, an iPad, and a Tweet” by Evan Osnos. This article is basically about how Osnos one day found that his iPad had been taken over by his three year old son. Now, his son doesn’t normally use the iPad unless they’re on flights or something, so when he got a hold of it unexpectedly, he went a little crazy. Basically Osnos found out that his iPad had been disabled, and to “Try again in 25,536,442 minutes.” That averages out to about 48 years. So in an attempt to fix it, Osnos asked Twitter, posting a photo of the iPad and its’ message as proof.

Little did Osnos know, but his story and subsequent photo of his iPad would become viral for many reasons. News stations were contacting him asking if they could use the photo and Osnos’ face. Friends were contacting him because they had read about it online. He was getting both people laughing at his misfortune, people scolding him for letting his three year old use an iPad, and other confused people wondering if he had solved the issue because they currently have the same problem.

I found this article interesting especially in light of what we were talking about in class last week. What does it take for something to go viral? When we looked at videos on Youtube to try and get a sense of what made them so popular, it seemed to correlate with just how silly the whole thing is. On one side, watching a baby bite his brother’s finger is not that important, but it is pretty silly, thus being funny and viral. This is the same with Osnos’ tweet, something about it is just so inherently funny and ridiculous, how can a three year old try that many passcodes? How is he going to fix it? Then there is another side of viral content, where people talk about a piece of media because they don’t agree with it and want to argue it. Osnos’ tweet triggered a lot of people into claiming he was a bad parent. They just had to talk about the photo because they wanted to publicly barrage it. People also cause things to go viral when they can relate to it. #relatable! Osnos’ tweet is something that many can relate to, we have all had funny technology problems or have pranked a friend by disabling their phone.

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