'Tattoo' of 152 Facebook friends a publicity stunt
A YouTube user from the Netherlands posted a YouTube video showing off her finished tattoo of her close friends on Facebook.
June 8th, 2011
01:59 PM ET

'Tattoo' of 152 Facebook friends a publicity stunt

[Updated at 1:59 p.m] When you want to get your name out there - sometimes you've got to come up with clever ways to do it.

That's something Rotterdam tattoo artist Dex Moelker and his company clearly hoped for when they were named as the ones who inked the Facebook tattoo requested by a Dutch woman of 152 of her Facebook friends. And boy, did it work. The story spread like a wildfire online. After newspapers and major online outlets, including CNN.com, put the story out - it was a hot-button topic. Ironically, as of this moment more than 7,000 people recommended this story on Facebook - perhaps in part because they thought it was ridiculous. And it turns out, that's just what it was.

The tattoo that sparked the Web frenzy isn't real. First off, I think a few people can give a sigh of relief that it isn't real. And we haven't really gone that far off the social media deep end to where our Facebook walls are displayed "Matrix"-style on our arms. As we said before, it wouldn't have been the first time someone tried to capture fame by using a social network site to name their kid or to get a tattoo. In this case it was all about publicity.

Moelker just came clean to the Dutch newspaper the Telegraaf, saying it was in fact a publicity stunt. The woman in the video didn't have the tattoo inked during a 30-hour period as the video claimed.

"It is a try out tattoo, a transfer, that washes off in a couple of days," he told them.

Phew. It may take some scrubbing to get it off, but I guess on the bright side that's all it will take. When it comes to viral videos, you never know what you're going to get (I'm looking at you, Rebecca Black. I still don't get if that song is real). But ironically, in this case, the ink shop got just what it wanted - a lot of free press. Hats off for an international viral campaign. It's not great when media outlets worldwide are duped by viral videos or stories - but if you're looking at it from a marketing perspective - you've got to "like" how well they pulled it off.

[Original blog posted at 11:24 a.m.] There are some people who "like" Facebook. And then there are people who are so devoted to their social media circle that they'll find some pretty extravagant ways to show it.

Mark down one woman in the Netherlands in the latter category. She's literally armed herself with the power of Facebook - in the form of a tattoo sleeve of her friends on Facebook.

Let's get the obligatory jokes out of the way: "What if someone unfriends her?" "Can I dislike this entire idea?" "I hope she saved the rest of her money for laser removal when she starts not to like these people." "Forget the new facial recognition technology Facebook just announced - she can look at her arm."

But this woman - who is gaining quite a bit of fame by posting a video last week on her "susyj87" YouTube account showing the process and her final tattoo of her 152 closest friends - said the tat wasn't about making a splash.

"My tattoo is not about up-to-date profile pics or fame (as you can see I want to stay anonymous)," she said to critics on her YouTube page. "These are the people closest to me (not all my facebook friends). It's a personal expression of who I am right now in this part of my life and the mediaworld we live in. And of course I love the way it looks. I understand if you wouldn't do this, I respect that. But to me it does have a lot of meaning."

Personally, we hope she really, really, really likes these friends. Or she's going to have a heck of a time getting those off - with a trip to have one laser-removed any time she has a really bad spat with a friend.

She says the ink was a way to embody, literally, the social media world we are immersed in.

"Of course I gave it a lot of thought. These are not all my friends. Just the people I care most about," she wrote. "I got their permission and they were very proud to be on it. To me it represents who I am right now and the time we live in. And of course I love the looks of it."

She's not the first one to use social media platforms in an over-the-top way. In fact, many folks on the Web who have seen this tattoo are remembering artist T-Pain, whose "You don't have to 'like' me" tattoo was pictured on CNET. Or perhaps you remember the man in Egypt who reportedly named his newborn daughter "Facebook" in honor of the role the social media network played in bringing about a revolution. Or the Israeli parents who named their child "like." Then there was the guy that Mashable wrote about a few years ago, who was trying to sell Ray-Bans by tattooing a pair of the shades on his face.

At least our newly tattooed Facebook woman adhered to some standards. Mashable points out she's stayed close to "Dunbar's number" - the "cognitive limit" of people you can be friends with, including real life and Facebook.

And hey, art is art, right? But you know what else art is - subjective. And it's apparent the same social media circles she drew inspiration from for her mosaic-style Facebook ink feel strongly about whether it's a cool, personal idea, or the most ridiculous thing on the planet.

soundoff (340 Responses)
  1. €Engleberthumperdink¥£

    You must be from a donkey show, dooch bag.

    June 8, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. closetiguana

    I crave attention.

    June 8, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Lanfear

    Congratulations... you just ruined your arm, dooche bag!

    June 8, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • looking for real news

      CNN Dropped the ball again. This is NOT a real tattoo


      June 8, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Peter

    If she is that immersed in facebook, it might be time to turn off the computer, go outside, and get some fresh air.

    June 8, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Lucy in SC

    She hit the nail on the head when she said "it represents who I am right now" Key word being RIGHT NOW. You know I tell all three of my kids that whatever feelings their youth brings, invinceable, immortal, naiive. It is not always going to be this way, you are going to get older and views and feelings change and this is such a major thing to do to your body, especially those who put so many large tatts on their body. I think the girl is an idiot and for certain will regret this when this "right now" moment passes.

    June 8, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      As a parent with tattoos (and I waited until I was 32 to get them), I can understand where your comment is coming from. That said, I find the ignorance it implys and your blanket statement approach of what is and isn't regrettable quite unsettling.

      June 8, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sabrina

      I don't know. I think she is probably pretty committed to it, and she probably needs to be "committed" for doing something so stupid. Oh, and supporters, having a different opinion doesn't make me ignorant. So spare me the d-bag and other rude comments.

      June 8, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lanfear

      I agree Lucy. I am 24 and it just so happens I am getting my first ink this Saturday. I look back at all the designs/ideas I wanted tattooed back when I was 16... and then 18,19,20... and I am SOOO glad I waited a few years and matured, otherwise I'd have a lot to cover up right now. I don't really care what this chick does as it is her body. But she posted a video and in turn she will get feedback. Of course the cynical me thinks it was a horrible idea... but the fact is I think it is just plain ugly. I would be embarassed! If not now then in a few years.

      June 8, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jmgone

      To Lucy in SC, I find your comments to be of great insight and thoughtful as oppose to Michael's (parent with tattoos) to be quite the opposite and is in fact the very thing he accuses you of. My 16,18 and 19 year olds were wondering what I was doing, came over and read the comments and all agree you get to stay on the island and Michael was voted off. Ahh, kids. Gotta love em.

      June 8, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. brian

    put this woman in a mental hospital NOW and pull down this story before it inspires any other boneheads to do the same

    June 8, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Michael

    Whether you like tattoos or not (I happen to have several), you have to admit that the artist is pretty darn talented. It would be incredibly difficult to paint someones likeness in a thumbnail size – much less tattoo it on skin!

    June 8, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Annika

      The reason for that is that it isn't real. It's been reported it newspapers/on the radio and it's obvious as there is no reaction at all on the person's arm when they are getting tattood (e.g. there would normally be redness)

      June 8, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lucy in SC

      Sorry you feel that way. Call me old school but I would never want my kids to get one until they are mature enough to make a major decision like that. And as a woman not too classy, as much as I admire Angelina Jolie, I think she is nuts for all those tattoos. Just my opinions, my kids are not pestering me to get one, my husband is not getting any, I am fine and don't feel the need to defend my position of let anyone else's "unsettle" me.

      June 8, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jmgone

      Wrong Michael, one does not have to admit, acknowledge, applaud, etc to anything positive in a person or act when the end results is such a negative. ex. Man hits his wife and daughter hard and fast because they "verbally" asked him to do so.
      Doesn't matter what anybody else thinks why they did, it's their body, their business and demanded it. Do admit his prowess of speed and strength.

      A 17 year old wants a tattoo of the map of Texas on her face, forget that she's a minor, she'll do it anyway when she turns 18. Do you talk about the artist's skill or speak of the recipient lack of brain power of allowing it and/or the artist for making it possible. The key here is NOT the permission or who owns what anatomy, that is irrelevant. It's the end results that is subject of discussion here and the rejections and hardship in life (fair or not but reality) that she will face because of how she felt "at that moment in life." Life can be hard enough as it is and it always changes. Tattoos of that nature is permanent...almost.

      June 8, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. you posters are cùnts

    you sad fúcks -€Engleberthumperdink¥£ – especially you

    June 8, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mack

    Can you imagine what her arm will look like as she gets older and her skin starts sagging?? Yuck!!

    June 8, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • beernpizzalover

      LOL – I was just thinking the same thing!
      Tattoos are just a fashion statement for 'White Trash'.

      June 8, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Sabrina

    and here I though getting tattoos of celebrity autographs was lame. This one really takes the cake on lameness.

    June 8, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. EAKNJ

    well,at least she feels she has that many "friends" as opposed to just trying to "friend" anyone who happens to know someone who happens to know her!

    June 8, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. HR

    I've seen worse tattoos than that... It's definitely unique. At least it's not a butterfly on her ankle...

    June 8, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sabrina

      or a so called 'tramp stamp.' Those are ridiculous.

      June 8, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. €Engleberthumperdink¥£

    No, especially you -you posters are c_nts- You filthy hore blog/tard MFKER.

    June 8, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  14. RxDutchy

    Wow, you all are very conservative! Open your minds for one second please! Who cares what she does to her body, if it makes her happy, go for it. If she regrets it years later, so be it. More than likely she will always look at it and smile.

    June 8, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sabrina

      Better conservative with some common sense than "open mind" and foolish. Some people's minds are so "open" that one day their brains are going to fall out.

      June 8, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jmgone

      Score 1 for Sabrina. 0 for RxDutchy.

      June 8, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Nelson

    Like why is this news worthy??? Really??

    June 8, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jmgone

      Why such an ignorant question??? Really??

      June 8, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • eatme1000

      this is really not news to anyone, I have to agree!! this fine line tattoo wll look great in a year or two when it all bleeds together... lame.

      June 8, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jmgone

      To Nelson & eatme1000 (clever)...There are several categories of news. Many in fact. I or you do not subscribe to many of them because they do not interest me. But they do interest many others. This particular story interest tattoo aficionados and those into social media. So now you have those groups as well as those that are not fond of either. So this is of great interest to many and indeed qualifies as "news". eatme1000's statement that "this is really not news TO ANYONE (my caps) is ignorant of these facts. No offense eatme, I'm sure you're not ignorant per se, just this one statement of yours.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
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