Today, Feb. 26, marks the anniversary of one of the biggest days in American history.
On Feb. 26, 2015, Americans forgot all of our troubles, put aside our differences and collectively lost our minds over two escaped llamas and a dress that somehow changed colors. Maybe it was gold and white. Maybe it was black and blue. We’re still arguing about that one, actually.
As for the llamas, well, they took off from a petting zoo opportunity at a Sun City retirement home and eluded authorities for most of the day. It even got the attention of The Washington Post. Its story about the incident had six bylines on it to boot.
The dress meme picked up steam later that night, as if some Internet God chose that day to bend to its will. You couldn’t go on Twitter or Facebook without getting into an argument about what color it was, and some people took the opportunity to combine the two memes into one.
The llamas and the dress combined for a shared cultural experience that dominated discussion for about 24 hours. It boosted Buzzfeed to more than 670,000 simultaneous views on its site. America experienced a new high in viral content. The Buzzfeed oral history of the day is a fascinating read, too.
Something actually newsworthy happened that day, though. The FCC’s historic ruling on Feb. 26, 2015, would allow the communications entity to more fully regulate the Internet and would prevent internet providers from jacking up prices on faster speeds. The two viral stories we all reacted to that day almost seemed like a celebration of our newfound Internet freedom.
(That “newfound internet freedom,” however, would be scaled back on Dec. 19, 2017, when the FCC voted to repeal several rules surrounding net neutrality. The new rules will take place starting in April 2018.)
On Feb. 26, 2016, it seems some people tried to celebrate with another color-blind test. (Please, not again.)
That one hasn’t gone as viral, but at least Damn, Daniel is probably happy he’s out of the spotlight.