Editor's Note: At the time of this writing, the egg had 46,310,748 likes. By the time this article is published, the number will probably have increased.
I love the egg.
Now, I understand that many of you may be confused (possibly disturbed) by that statement, so please allow me to clarify.
I’m not here to declare an undying love for all eggs, I love the egg, and more than 46 million other people agree with me.
I can all but guarantee that some of you reading this, or at least the ones that didn’t tune out at the first sentence, have scrolled past one singular egg with humble aspirations of being the most liked post on Instagram. Some of you are in the 46 million who took the time to admire this egg and decide that, yes, it would be funny if we gave that egg the new world record for most Instagram likes.
So you, and approximately 45,999,999 other people, gave two thumb-taps to the effort and moved on, never stopping to think about what a ridiculous and absolutely amazing thing you just became a part of.
The egg phenomenon represents to me one of the core effects our experiment with the internet has created: the formation of incredibly democratic digital communities that billions of people now have the freedom to seek out or find on their own. What I think is the most significant takeaway from this event is that one person thought a world record egg would be funny, and a platform existed for them to find 46 million other people who agreed with them.
Most of the communities we are part of in life are effectively forced onto us by geography, birth or other factors outside of our control. But the internet opens up an infinite number of new communities we are free to join regardless of spatial obstacles. The world record egg is one of these communities, and the only thing binding together its members is an admittedly pretty dumb joke. Now, you can call that ridiculous, and it is, but it is also one of the purest expressions of democracy that I can imagine. Over 46 million people cooperated to get this egg to the top. Over 46 million people read that caption in who knows how many languages and from who knows how many places and cultures, and they all decided to help get this little egg the world record. Honestly, that’s kind of amazing.
And it has been said countless times that the anonymity of the internet allows us to unleash our most unrestrained selves. So if the egg phenomenon says anything about what humanity is really like, deep down under all our social restrictions, it’s that we have a capacity for cooperation, which is too often stifled by unnecessary power structures or preconceived notions about each other. I love the egg because I love the internet, people and the incredible things we can accomplish together when we all just relax, and maybe laugh a little too.