A Facebook Turns Two Faced
The first week of February 2010 was Celebrity Doppelganger Week. It was a week prompted by the viral spreading of the following Facebook status: "It's Doppelganger week on Facebook; change your profile picture to someone famous you have been told you look like." My friends turned into George Clooney, Katherine Heigl, and Ludwig von Beethoven. The trouble with Celebrity Doppelganger week was not just people claiming resemblance to more attractive celebrities, welcoming the comparison, but that it's the worst viral trend yet.
A Facebook default photo says everything. We're all guilty of judging people by the one photo they've chosen to represent themselves. When, all of a sudden, photos of people you know turn into photos of celebrities you don't know, something strange has happened. It shows that people are happy to surrender a huge part of themselves for the sake of identifying with somebody famous. It's not enough to say that you resemble Penelope Cruz—you must show everybody how much.
The Huffington Post's interview with Celebrity Doppelganger Week creator Bob Patel said that it started when the guys at work teased him for looking like Tom Selleck. Jumping off the joke, he updated his status and it spread like fire. Facebook news feeds quickly filled with CDW participants and critics, creating a public discussion of the viral event. Some status updates lamented the stupidity of CDW, insisting that nobody looks like the celebrity they chose, while others celebrated it as a distraction to an otherwise dull mid-winter week. If you logged onto Facebook at the beginning of this month, you were bound to waste time contemplating the accuracy of your friends' celebrity doppelgangers. You also may have asked yourself, "who is my celebrity doppelganger?" The answer is that it truly doesn't matter.
What makes CDW worse than other Facebook trends like Farmville, "FML" (Fuck My Life), and "Become a Fan of [insert inane thing]" is its severe lack of substance. Other viral trends, though just as irritating, have some tiny purpose, whether it's a popular game to beat or a way of identifying your interests. There isn't a single thing we can learn from Celebrity Doppelganger Week, besides that, as humans, we're bound to resemble other humans.
Ideally, in a month's time, those who participated in CDW will click through their default photos and stumble harshly upon their celebrity doppelganger. They will be reminded of the time and vanity that went into choosing a celebrity doppelganger, and feel overcome with embarrassment. They will delete the photo, and move on with their lives.