After a long and brutal Jonas brothers meme-filled winter, spring has finally sprung in the D.C. area. The sun is shining, the grass is green, and the weather is the perfect temperature for quadding. But most importantly, the world-famous Cherry Blossoms have finally bloomed. People from all over have come to see these gorgeous trees, originally a gift from the Japanese to the United States in 1912.
This past weekend, the trees were in full bloom, and campuses across the D.C. area were completely empty as students traveled downtown. Students flocked from near and far by foot, metro, scooter, Uber, and Zipcar to our capital on a mission: to snap that perfect Cherry Blossom shot that would become their Facebook profile picture.
Rival correspondents who traveled to see the Cherry Blossoms this past weekend noted the pure dedication of the students who stayed hours to get that perfect picture that would get the most “likes” on Facebook. The prime shot, which looks over the sparkling water with the Jefferson Memorial in the background, was a hot commodity. Some students reportedly waited hours until they had their turn at the most desired Cherry Blossom spot, some collapsing due to exhaustion and some actually getting into fights and using their selfie sticks for self defense. Tensions were high, in addition to the hopes for the number of likes on profile pictures.
This year, compared to the past, college students really upped the game for Cherry Blossom photos. They took a wide variety of artsy, funny, romantic, and just plain awkward photos. This past Sunday night, over 75% of Facebook profile pictures were changed, dramatically slowing down Facebook in the DMV area. Employees noted that hashtags such as #Springhasblossomed and #picsoritdidnthappen were off the charts. Facebook statistics revealed an incredible 600% increase in profile picture likes.
The long wait for the perfect picture proved successful for many students. An anonymous AU student shared that “I received 50 likes in under 20 minutes. That had never happened before–those Cherry Blossoms are magical.”
Indeed, the Cherry Blossoms are truly magical for their beauty, but more importantly in 2016, for their ability to give millennials an immense mass of likes on their profile pictures.