This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
Jess Cooper is your normal 15-year old Australian girl who wanted to celebrate her sixteenth birthday with a little party. She decided to post an invitation to the event on Facebook with her address and her cellphone number saying she would like her schoolmates to attend and if they wanted to bring somebody, to let her know. She apparently wrote that she didn’t have time to invite everybody individually and added that it was to be an “open house” party as long as it doesn’t “get out of hand”.
It went viral.
She ended up with several thousand accepting her invitation which was way more than her intended target group of just her schoolmates. Her home was bombarded with calls and text messages from total strangers inquiring about the party. People obviously found her home number based on her address posted with the invitation. So, she took her invitation down.
An impostor recreated the Facebook account and copied and pasted all the information from the original invitation. It then went even more viral than the original invitation. Almost 200,000 people had accepted the invitation. An online store called Cafepress which sells various items like t-shirts and coffee mugs, started a series of items labelled, “I’m attending Jess Cooper’s party”
Gee, has this gotten just a tad out of hand?
The Coopers went to the police who started an investigation. They said they will be patrolling the area on the evening in question to ensure that anybody who shows up will be turned away. The Daily Telegraph of Australia has now reported that a teenage boy has been charged by police for setting up the impostor Facebook page.
The Sydney Morning Herald talks of another teen, Corey Worthington, who used MySpace to arrange a party while his parents were away. About 500 showed up and things got ugly with some damaging property in the neighbourhood and throwing projectiles at the police cars which showed up. The final tally ended up being about $20,000 in damages.
The power of social media
Certainly the changes sweeping the Middle East have shown us the power of social media in spreading the word. And that’s a good thing. However, sending out an invite to a party may not be the best application of getting the word out.
I have no idea if this Facebook page is legit or another fake one. If it is legit, I can only wish the Cooper’s good luck as it says, as of this writing, that 68,957 will be attending. That’s a lot of people to have over for a sweet sixteen party. Heck, that’s a lot of people to have over for any event unless you’re holding it in a stadium!
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