By Jane Lasky
For anyone who has been either in a Rip Van Winkle sleep state since before last month or is so completely averse to social media that he or she simply stays away, Facebook faced a viral trend that had users madly makings lists. These lists, which appeared on all of your friends’ Facebook pages (or so it seemed), answered the question: “What are the top bands you have seen live?” while admitting that one entry was, in fact, a lie—thus begging readers to guess which one was the fake by commenting on the post.
The whole trend began on April 26 and lasted in full force for three days and three nights. By April 28, the news media was all over what appeared to be an out-of-the blue topic, searching for reasons why the whole scenario started in the first place.
Time and Effort
By way of background, many who participated said that taking the time to make a fun list such as this one took away from their worries of the world, or at least from what had been happening in our world beyond their control (especially in the political arena). In fact, for these eager social media participants, the exercise was well worth the rather lengthy effort. After all, a telling of this type meant looking back over their collective lives to try and capture memories of times that may have happened quite a long time ago.
Included were certain baby boomers/former hippies who tried hard to remember their lives back half a century ago when the Summer of Love was a time of great experimentation, in musical musings as well as in certain mind altering substances. However, the latter often did dim those memories, making this seemingly mandatory list somewhat torturous.
Also on point was that, for some, the 10 concerts meme of late April had its bragging rights. This was especially true for devoted fans who had crammed in more concert experiences than the average Joe has been privy to in this or any other lifetime.
In The Beginning
But how did all of this start?
Speculations have been pouring in for weeks now, even though the “Top 10 concerts I have been to…” trend on FaceBook is no longer trending. To be fair, certain late-bloomer users of the popular social media platform are just now deciding to participate, but the frenzy has died down to next to nothing.
Regarding all of this madness, the whole deal may not have been especially prudent. According to Christopher Mele and Daniel Victor of the New York Times, who talk about certain industry experts, these posts “…might also be an invitation to a mid-level threat to your online privacy and security…”
Mele and Victor wrote on April 28, “The meme… is the kind of frivolous distraction that makes up social media interactions,” comparing the 10 best band experiences to the Ice Bucket Challenge.
These journalists added, “Privacy experts cautioned [that creating a rendition of this most recent meme concept] could reveal too much about a person’s background and preferences…[In fact, it] sounds like a security question—name the first concert you attended–that you might be asked on a banking, brokerage or similar website to verify your identity.”
Truth Or Consequences?
The Times writers looked to executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance Michael Kaiser for more answers. Kaiser replied to the inquiring duo, saying this sort of virtual chain mail “…could telegraph information about a user’s age, musical tastes and even religious affiliation—all of which would be desirable to marketers hoping to target ads.”
These and other hypotheses seem possible, although there has been no official confirmation on this speculation. So, for now, just keep on listening to talented music makers and then (carefully) share the experience with your friends on social media, if you so choose.