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My 15 minutes: When my Facebook event went viral  

by Tt Shinkan Even if you’re not from Chicago, you’re probably familiar with one its most famous pieces of art. The magnificent statue called Cloud Gate, or what’s commonly referred to as The Bean. Built in 2004 by Indian-born British artist Sir Anish Kapoor, the statue stands right in the middle of Millennium Park, a few feet away from the Art Institute of Chicago. Since it’s unveiling nearly 14 years ago, The Bean has been a hub for tourists and locals alike, standing next to it’s mirror-like exterior trying to snap that perfect selfie telling the world, “Look at me! I’m in Chicago!” Growing up just a half an hour away from the city, I never saw the appeal of The Bean. I even have this running joke among my family and friends that I even despise the structure, which honestly, isn’t far from the truth. I believe my disliking of it started my junior and senior years of high school when my prom group wanted to go see the statue the day after prom both years. We grew up in a small Indiana town a half hour away, we’ve seen The Bean before. There’s even a picture of me in front of it last summer with an unamused expression. If I’m being honest, I can write a whole book about why I don’t like The Bean, but this feature isn’t about my dislike for Cloud Gate, actually it’s more of a story of irony. You see, back last October, I created a Facebook event dedicated to The Bean that went viral.

Creating a Viral Event

Image from Know Your Meme
Image from Know Your Meme

Outside of Facebook

Know Your Meme Reddit referenced the event
Image from Redbubble
Redbubble user Schlaacka

The Aftermath

“It’s one of those moments when you unexpect the expected. I’m disappointed, but I am also very proud she had enough courage and stupidity to do that.” -Alexandria Shinkan, sister
“At first I didn’t even realize you created it! Then I saw 30,000 people had liked it and your name on it. I was proud of you but couldn’t believe that many people knew about it.” -Nadene Shinkan, mother
“I thought of course it would be Tt to go viral. I thought it was so funny. I told my friends up here [Western Michigan University] about it and some said they even heard about it and that was just so funny and crazy to me.” -Emily Grunewald, friend since preschool
“I thought it was hilarious! Both the event and that my friends down at school [Butler University] knew about it.” -Dylan Goodman, friend since elementary school
“I do remember seeing it and my thought was ‘god all the amazing work Tt does and as talented as she is, this is what's going viral. I hate the internet’” -Matthew Yapp, Managing Editor
“Yes. When I first saw it I honestly didn't realize you had created it. So I was honestly really surprised when I found out something that went viral was made by someone I knew!” -Emily Reuben, Editor-In-Chief
“I wasn’t exactly aware of its exact creation but I remember one day on Facebook seeing a whole slew of images with funny Bean events. I thought it was really funny especially considering the kind of person the artist of the bean is, too. To have his creation become a meme was, in a funny way, a middle finger to him. That was my initial reaction.” -Isabella Torres, Assistant Creative Director
“I remember laughing my ass off for a couple minutes and thinking ‘Jesus, how far is this meme gonna go?’ Then I showed my roommate who’s from Chicago and he laughed pretty hard too. Then when I found out you made it, I thought good for you and that it was a pretty funny meme.” -Gunner Masters, Features writer

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