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Why Posting 9 Concerts You Attended (and 1 You Didn’t) Is So Irresistible

The latest viral Facebook activity really strikes a chord with many of us


Part of the Aging Well Through Arts Special Report

If you’ve been on Facebook this week, chances are concerts of past and present are filling your feed, as friends are posting nine concerts they’ve seen and one they haven’t, and you get to guess which is the lie.

It’s a take on the classic ice-breaker game, “Two truths and a lie,” but it has the added benefit of being fun. (I’m kidding. Ice breaker games can be fun, but they’re usually used in awkward corporate retreats, which are generally not fun.)

Introducing: The Greatful Dead

I had a lot of laughs yesterday over the bands that were intended to make me laugh, especially as they related to the person posting on Facebook:  The Statler Brothers, Hoodoo Gurus, Bachman Turner Overdrive were some good lies and non-lies. A couple of people got tricky — intentionally misspelling “Billie Joel” and “The Greatful Dead” to throw their followers off. It’s incredibly viral and all in good fun.

But this all felt tremendously familiar. Doesn’t it seem like only yesterday that we were posting our first seven jobs on Facebook? What about the three movie characters that match your personality? The album that changed your life? Or when we posted our first profile photo and our most recent? Let’s go WAY back to when you had to use your “Notes” page to write 25 Things About Me. Remember that?

Doesn’t it seem like only last month that we were posting our first six jobs?

The Facebook Algorithm and You

I consider a Facebook feed to be a living, breathing, always-on beast of sorts where people are constantly sharing and liking/disliking opinions, photos, videos, article links and more; however, each person only sees a tiny fraction of any of this. That’s because Facebook’s algorithm tends to only show you only the people whose posts tend to agree with or engage you. Plus, most of us — let’s hope — are not on Facebook all the time, so we miss much of what is posted.

That’s why it is so remarkable to see “9 concerts” and other viral sharing games catch fire. But I think the secret formula for its popularity isn’t so secret, really.

Like the rest of the activities or games I mentioned, it taps into something that is so human: Our need to reminisce and to connect over shared experiences that bring us happiness. Nostalgia about music and concerts is something that most humans in 2017 have.

Making a Musical Connection

We love remembering music, and the way that live music specifically makes us feel. It is a transporting experience; a time machine. Sharing our past experiences about concerts connects us with our friends and shows us how much we have, or don’t have, in common — and in the case of this Facebook game, how much our tastes have, or have not, changed over the years.

Plus, this viral game has the added benefit of allowing humble bragging: You saw The Beatles?! Miles Davis? Elvis? Sonny and Cher? Nirvana, a few months before Kurt died (I raise my hand on that last one)? It’s socially sanctioned showing off, all in good fun.

I haven’t posted my list yet, but I can tell you that Ted Nugent will certainly be on it, and you can decide for yourself whether that’s a lie.

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By Shayla Stern
Shayla has spent a career in digital media journalism and content marketing strategy at organizations including washingtonpost.comEdmunds.comCars.com and Fast Horse and as a media professor at the University of Minnesota and DePaul University. She has a Ph.D. in mass communication from the University of Iowa and has published extensive research on social media and gender. Based in St. Paul, Shayla can be reached by email at [email protected].@shayla_stern

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