4th March 2014

Why the length of Bradley Cooper’s arms wasn’t the only factor in the Oscars selfie’s success

By Martin Kevill on Tuesday March 4, 2014 with 1 Comments

“If only Bradley’s arm was longer. Best photo ever. #oscars”

These words, accompanied by a blurry, poorly taken photograph, shattered a number of Twitter records on Sunday night, including one previously held by the most powerful human being on Earth, Barack Obama.  It was a tweet sent by American talk-show host, Ellen DeGeneres, on a Samsung phone at the Academy Awards, featuring a ‘selfie’ of herself, accompanied by no less than twelve Oscars attendees of varying fame:

Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Channing Tatum, Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Bradley Cooper, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyong’O, Peter N’yongO and Angelina Jolie.

I doubt I’m the only person wondering just how different Bradley Cooper’s career trajectory would have been had he possessed longer arms. Renowned world over for his smoulderingly perfect looks, Cooper’s arms are, as you’d imagine, the perfect length for his body size. Disproportionately sized limbs may well have affected his confidence at a young age and had Ellen’s hindsight been a reality, Bradley might not have even been there to take the photo in the first place.

As of 10.30am GMT on Tuesday, Ellen DeGeneres’ tweet has been retweeted 3,102,062 times and this is ever-increasing, racking up a tally almost five-times the size of the previous record holder: Barack Obama’s “Four more years” tweet on US election night in November 2012.

But why was this ‘selfie’ so popular? I’ve got five reasons for you:

1. Selfies are in Vogue

The ‘selfie’ (a photograph taken of yourself, by yourself) was born on social media and has been a staple part of the online communities since its apparent ‘invention’ on Instagram last year. As a result, the ‘selfie’ is something that resonates greatly with the online audience.

2. Celebrities being silly

Anything that humanises celebrities (and indeed, brands) goes down very well on Twitter. People like authenticity. When Harry Styles uploads a picture of him and his dog, his millions of followers go wild. Fans like to see into celebrities’ lives and find a human – someone like themselves. So, when 12 a-list celebrities are cuddled up together, giggling and trying to fit into a photo at the Oscars of all places, the world is obviously going to go nuts.

3. The Oscars is popular

The success of the tweet was greatly helped by the popularity of this year’s Academy Awards on social media. The Oscars had its own presence during the event and #Oscars was one of the many relevant hashtags trending throughout the ceremony. Popularity breeds popularity on Twitter and the interest factor of a normally highly engaging image was magnified by the fact it was topical and timely.

4. Retweets from the celebs

Kevin Spacey has 3.2m followers, Ellen DeGeneres has 27m and Channing Tatum has 5.8m. That’s over 35m followers of just three of the 12 celebrities involved, most of whom retweeted the original tweet posted by Ellen. This ‘teamwork’ will have sky-rocketed the reach and impressions across the social networking site, which would have had a profoundly positive impact on the retweet count.

5. Post tweet coverage

The tweet has been talked about a lot, including in this very blog post. There will be hundreds of thousands, even millions of direct links back to the tweet in news stories, case studies and blog posts around the internet this week, increasing its reach even further. It’s this reason that the tweet has continued to spread throughout the night in the US.

Samsung, a sponsor of this year’s Academy Awards may have also been involved in the organisation of the tweet. The reaction of the surrounding celebrities suggests they knew more about it than they were letting on and as the image was taken on a Samsung Galaxy Note 3, the Samsung marketing team will have been popping the champagne as it watched the retweets roll in.

Did you stay up to watch the Oscars on Sunday night? Were you on hand to retweet Ellen’s picture and become a part of history? If not, you’ve still got time so head over to Twitter now!