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If you thought the llama and dress memes were silly, this will make you feel worse

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On Thursday and Friday, the Internet went gaga, first over a pair of llamas loose in Arizona, then over a dress that appeared either white-and-gold or black-and-blue depending on who was looking at it. we enjoyed the opportunity to shed some light on both memes, with stories on where llamas live and why there are so many in the United States, as well as a piece on the optical illusions that show color is in the eye of the beholder.

But no doubt some of us thought the focus on llamas and “the dress” was overkill. And these charts — visualizations of people tweeting about llamas and the dress on the one hand and ISIS and net neutrality (subjects on Friday’s front pages) on the other — show that the Internet indeed got carried away.

For starters, this first chart shows that there was no comparison between the llama story and the dress story. We may have been intrigued by llamas, but we absolutely loved the dress.

As you can see, from Thursday to Friday, there were 570,000 tweets about the llama. Not that many. But there were 7.6 million tweets about the dress. (Yes, some of those tweets involved the word “dress” in other contexts, but most of what you’re seeing above is driven by the mysterious dress.)

At its peak, there were were 17,000 tweets a minute about the dress, compared with 550 about the llama. So the llama was a mini-meme; the dress stole the show.

ISIS, also known as the Islamic State, is a fairly heavily trafficked phrase on Twitter. At its peak, it was more tweeted about than the llama. But this week, people were far more interested in the dress, at least for a while, as you can see in this visualization:

“Net neutrality” was a big topic Thursday. The Federal Communications Commission issued a landmark ruling that telecommunications providers should be classified as utilities in providing Internet access, preventing the creation of premium lanes on the Internet. It’s a hot topic online, but drove only a maximum of 690 tweets a minute.

Wonkblog


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