'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. RainyAlaska

    Will she still think it's cool when she's older and interviewing for a professional job, or posing for her wedding pictures or taking her grandkids to the beach? A little stupid goes a long way.

    June 8, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. GOP Hate America


    June 8, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dutcharmlover

    This is a work of art and nothing more. Who cares about her social status. All of you are jealouse that you didn't come up with it first. If she had longer arms, she would have more friends on it. If Obama had his way, kis birth cerificate would be one of her friends. Love Live Real Cheese!!! (not that kraft singles vegtable oil crap)

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

    It is a fake. Just been confirmed.

    June 8, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Alisha

    On Word : Stupid

    June 8, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Pips

    I hate the internet.

    I really really do.

    June 8, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Rooster Cogburn

    Where the hell am I, wait, I don't do Facebook, never mind... Hot tattoo artist though. Ifn I were to do a tat, she'd be my choice...

    June 8, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  8. fake tat

    The Dutch girl that 152 of her Facebook friend on her arm wanted to let tatoo appeared an advertising stunt. The design, that her whole poor covered was normally washable.

    June 8, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  9. imfotp

    who the hell has "152 close friends"?

    June 8, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Paul

    CNN... Come on... that tattoo is completely FAKE. I take it the person who wrote this story has never even stepped foot in a tattoo shop.

    June 8, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  11. inyourface73

    REALLY? I.... I..... MEAN.... REALLY? $&^#$*)! YOU ARE A DUMB-ASS. Should I repeat myself? This is worse than waking up after a night of drinking and finding your favorite cartoon character tattooted on your ass!! This isn't one of those tattoos you'll regret in 20 years. This is one you should be regretting tomorrow!! So what happens when your top 152 changes? Or hey!! I changed my picture. DUMB-ASS....

    June 8, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. fake tat

    paul this tatoo is fake, it was story done on it from the netherlands. its a washable tattoo

    June 8, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  13. tuoni

    So, how do you unfriend someone from your arm then? What if one of her friends changes his/her profile picture?

    June 8, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  14. fake tat

    this tattoo was a publicity stunt, they only did this for advertising, its washable

    June 8, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  15. what?

    This is so dumb. And it's even dumber now I know it's not real.

    June 8, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • leaveitbe

      It is dumb! But where is it confirmed that its fake? I just want to see the proof, cause I was gonna share this article but no point now if its a fake story. Haha.

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