Damn.. Are We Really Letting This Happen?

(Forewarning: this blog post is a bit dated due to technical difficulties on my WordPress. Originally 2/29/16)

Let’s get one thing straight.

Yes, Daniel is a sharply dressed young man. Yes, Daniel sports some exceptionally snazzy white shoes. And yes, Daniel just sat for an interview with THE Ellen on her talk show. But… I don’t really see what the craze is all about. A couple of weeks ago, a video on Twitter surfaced of a nice teenage boy named Daniel Lara, appearing to be in high school, being followed around by his friend recording his outfits, admiring him in a bit of a trolling fashion stating “DAMN DANIEL!!”. Granted, we understand they are all friends and it was simply all in good fun. But on that Friday afternoon, this video spread across the internet like wildfire. Before the original video was deleted, the video amassed up to over 320,000 retweets. I saw the video, as I was heading up to class. I chuckled for a little bit, thinking it was just another internet jokester. But as the day went on, and I checked my social media accounts, all I would see is this sly walking teenager:

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Moving on from Twitter to Facebook to Snapchat, all I saw were references to this video. People crying of laughter, people imitating his friend recording, and even catching people who by chance happened to wearing those exact white Vans. But I didn’t understand the magnitude of the video at all. I would definitely classify myself as an avid social media user and I was not following for the life of me. The most surprising part of it all was seeing the various businesses making use of the #DamnDaniel hashtag. IMG_1242

Clorox having a bit of fun with the latest craze.IMG_1243

Menswear Blog Four Pins throws in their two cents into the fun.

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And alas, it was only a matter of time before Vans even chimed in.

I will admit this was a smart marketing strategy. Using the hashtag to utilize Web 2.0 was a great way for companies to appeal to their younger, more tech-savvy targets who have a larger presence on social media. The many number of companies who put the #DamnDaniel hashtag to use were innovative. This was a perfect time for them to advertise their products. In a previous class, we spoke on the reference to Red Lobster Beyonce had in one of her lines during her performance. Twitter erupted, with their opinions on how she “slayed”, took a shot at law enforcement, or the Red Lobster line. But Red Lobster failed to take this opportunity and run with it. Twitter was a huge platform in that moment because during live events, for some reason there happen to be a lot more people using Twitter than usual. By the time they addressed the situation, it was virtually too late and nobody really cared all that much about it anymore.

But when I saw this… I was in complete awe. I had no words.IMG_1245

Simply for walking around his school in Vans, this young man was asked for a sit down interview on day time television with one of THE coolest women on EARTH. Ellen DeGeneres herself invited Daniel and his friend for a sitdown to speak on how their video set the internet upside down. After a nice lengthy interview, she was kind enough to reward Daniel for his walking with a casual LIFETIME SUPPLY OF WHITE VANS. DOES ANYBODY UNDERSTAND WHAT IS GOING ON?

This little instance goes to display the power of the internet. One small thing can go viral over night and the next thing you wake up with your face all over the internet. Today, you do not particularly need a solid set of skills to get ahead. A iPhone (because owning an Android is a cardinal sin) and a solid social media base is all you need and you could get much farther then you think. But I’m sure we will find the next big thing to over glorify and hype up soon enough.

8 comments

  1. Damn! Good post! (okay, bad joke…)
    It’s amazing how can something with no intention or goal break the internet in such a huge way. Who would have ever said that a kid walking around the school and his friend filming would end up being such a huge Internet bomb. Human behaviour is totally unpredictable, and the Internet is full of surprises. It would be interesting to see how the main character, Daniel, went through all this process. Panic? Excitement? How can an individual deal with this overwhelming experience?

  2. Great post! I think this goes along with what we’ve been saying in class about viral things on the internet. They take it over for no apparent reason whatsoever, and then they fade. I think the timing of the post is actually good because it highlights the life cycle of this video. I, like you, heard “Damn Daniel” all over campus when it first came about. However, I haven’t really heard it much since it first “blew up”. Honestly I hadn’t thought of this video until I read your post. I think the video has had its time, and is already on the decline, which is amazing because (if this is true), it only lasted a month or so.

  3. Reading this “late” post about this viral video was actually very interesting because it did make me reflect upon how quickly something like this can lose its popularity. I certainly haven’t heard a “Damn Daniel” joke in a while and I’m not all that sad about it. Content like this seemingly does gain popularity at random and I certainly cannot explain it. I’m sure it won’t be long until some new and random video will gain the same traction that this one did. Who knows, maybe I’ll be the one posting it!

  4. Nice post! I think the message here is that if you’re a company that sees a connection with their product and the internet craze (and especially if your product is a part of/ mentioned in said internet craze), you don’t have to necessarily like it to take part in it. And along the same vein, it’s better to take part in something that is perhaps out of your realm than it is to miss out on something big. In other words, when in doubt – engage!

  5. This is an awesome post but it also makes me so mad! How does something like this go viral and he gets on Ellen and gets a lifetime supply of white vans?! I feel like this illustrates why sometimes it is so difficult for companies to succeed in social media, a lot of times you have no idea what is going to go viral and what will be a dud. Maybe one day I will figure it out, but probably not because I personally thought this was a crazy post to go viral. Thanks for the cool insights!

  6. Nice post. I confess that I’ve been meaning to look more into the “Damn Daniel” phenomenon for the past few weeks, but I’ve never gotten around to it. Thanks for getting me up to speed!

  7. I’m totally with you in the sense that I didn’t really understand what all the craze surrounding “Damn Daniel” was all about. It goes to show how literally anything can go viral for a multitude of reasons, without the majority of the general public really understanding why. I also agree with Ashley’s comment above that just as quickly as something can go viral (well, almost), it can become somewhat irrelevant with most people forgetting about it and moving on to the next popular and impossibly dumb internet video. At least Daniel rode the wave to the Ellen show and got a lifetime supply of Vans out of all of this. Great post!

  8. lol “THE” ellen d .. love that chick. I think daniel is just a pawn in all this. Companies know by now all the great thinks that can happen after going viral .. I think this got blown up because it was a cheap attempt for companies to make some money …. gotta admit, its fun to say “dayyyumn”

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