On April 15, at 9:55 a.m., 1.2 million people tuned into the livestream of April the giraffe giving birth to her new baby boy.
The days leading up to the birth were met with great anticipation from across the internet, but why?
What started out as just a Facebook livestream of a pregnant giraffe became an internet sensation, but why did a pregnant giraffe from New York capture the attention of so many?
Animals seem to capture the attention of many people. Just look at Grumpy Cat or even Harambe the gorilla as they took the web by storm.
What gave April such a large audience, though, most likely had to do with the anticipation of the birth.
When the livestream first went up two months ago, it had a tagline of something along the lines of “watch April the giraffe give birth at the Animal Adventure Park in New York.”
Most people probably saw the stream on Facebook and began to watch and wait for the birth, but when minutes turned into hours until the next day came, people discovered she had still not given birth. As more and more people began to watch the stream, so too did the stream appear on everyone’s news post with many shares and likes.
Like a fire, it grew and grew until any person on Facebook had no choice but to view the giraffe. It wasn’t long before internet memes became to show up about the giraffe; then new organizations began to cover the giraffe with some even hosting their own livestreams.
Even when the livestream was taken down on YouTube for being “sexually explicit” for a short while, it didn’t stop people’s attention as the restored stream garnered more attention than before.
Then Toys “R” US began sponsoring the stream and Animal Adventure Park began to sell April the giraffe T-shirts and even started a GoFundMe campaign that raised more than $142,000.
April has grown more popular than anyone would have anticipated, and all because each day the giraffe didn’t give birth the more the anticipation grew.
People love suspense, so much so that we will go beyond movies and seek suspense in our everyday lives. April gave people suspense as they waited for her to give birth and people were willing to spend hours out of their day to watch for the exact moment of the birth.
According to Google trends, giraffes were the most searched animal on google for the month of March and one of the top three searches overall. People were probably trying to find out how long giraffes are pregnant and quickly found out that giraffes are pregnant for about 13-15 months.
With numerous news articles from The Washington Post, USA Today, CNN, ABC News, and many others and the livestream now ended, perhaps now people can go about their lives without wondering if April has given birth — that is, until the next trending animal story.
With the new calf born, April’s popularity will probably diminish to the wider audience, but to those at the park, she will forever be a star.