A joke invitation on Facebook to “Storm Area 51” has brought an onslaught of memes and talk about extraterrestrial life. The event was originally called, “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us,” and received 2.1 million pledges from people willing to show up.
Despite the creators saying it was only a joke, the power of memes took hold and the plan was set. Today, over a thousand people showed up in the small towns of Rachel and Hiko for alien-themed festivals. And almost a hundred showed up at the gate.
The fact that people actually showed up is pretty great in of itself. People desire to be a part of something, and will do anything to be immersed in what will eventually be looked back on as a part of history. There were multiple people carrying signs with funny connotations as well.
Now, what really made the joke funny, is the memes that were posted over and over again since July. Many were about the aftermath of people “Naruto” running into Area 51, in which many would get shot and killed. Others were about what they would find in Area 51.
And, as with any cultural event, people are bound to capitalize on it. YouTube influencers created fake storm videos to boost their own engagement. Snapchat had filters tailored for today’s raid. And, my personal favorite, Buzzfeed Unsolved: Supernatural season six premiered today with an area 51 themed episode. The Ghoul Boys, Shane Madej and Ryan Bergara talked about the hidden secrets and history of Area 51.
There were no reported incidents besides on person getting arrested for public urination and another detained at one of the gates.