RIP, #DrummondPuddleWatch, the first great internet sensation of 2016

Gone too soon.
Gone too soon.
Image: Periscope
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For one short day, as ephemeral as a ripple on a puddle’s surface, it was glorious.

Offices around the globe ground to a halt today to watch a strangely transfixing Periscope livestream of people trying to cross a puddle blocking a public path in the northern English city of Newcastle.

#DrummondPuddleWatch (Jan. 6, 2016—Jan. 6, 2015) had everything you could hope for in an Internet sensation: human drama, opportunistic marketers, a guy on a pink toy raft. Nearly 550,000 people tuned in overall, with a peak of some 20,000 concurrent viewers, making it one of Periscope’s most popular feeds ever.

And then it was gone.

The puddle came to the world’s attention via a marketing agency called Drummond Central, whose Newcastle offices look directly onto the puddle. Staff there have been watching puddle drama unfold from their windows for weeks. On Wednesday, they finally blu-tacked an iPhone to the window and set up the live feed.

It’s amazing how many different ways there are to cross a puddle. The nimble leapt. The cautious tiptoed. Bikers and the owners of well-made rain boots cruised through like it wasn’t no thing. One woman held her head high and strode across slowly, majestically, as though expecting it to solidify, Jesus-style, at the touch of her foot.

Equally entertaining were the comments scrolling alongside the video, revealing a global audience of peacemakers (“It’s a nice puddle imo”), party poopers (“Has anyone weed in that puddle”), puddle truthers (“It’s fake”), and the existentially troubled (“What has my life come to? I’m watching a fucking puddle.”)

Judging from the number of comments in Cyrillic, the puddle was huge in Russia.

The puddle cam’s short life burned bright and fast. The news was on it.

The marketers were on it.

And then it was over. The employee who donated his iPhone to the cause unpeeled it from the window. The staff gave themselves a round of applause and trekked out into the dark of a Newcastle January evening. #DrummondPuddleWatch was over.

Thank you, puddle. We’ll never forget . . . hey, look at this cat video!