'Bra color' charity campaign blossoms on Facebook

It's taking over Facebook status messages like few things ever have: female users saying what color bra they're wearing to spread breast cancer awareness.

Caroline McCarthy Former Staff writer, CNET News
Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.
Caroline McCarthy
2 min read

Have you seen a bunch of Facebook statuses consisting only of colors--white, black, pink, beige--recently? That's not a coincidence.

Somehow, a viral campaign bubbled up through the nooks and crannies of the massive social network this week--female members of the site changing their status messages to the colors of the bras they're currently wearing in order to spread awareness about breast cancer.

According to The Washington Post, no one is really sure where or on behalf of whom it precisely started, but it appears e-mail chain letters went around earlier in the week to encourage it.

As far as viral fads go, this one is sort of interesting: with no explanation for an individual status message, onlookers who saw a handful of them would wonder what kind of in-joke they weren't understanding and might start investigating simply out of curiosity. That could mean that it would have more lasting power, memorywise, than your average viral charity campaign.

But let's get real. This is an important cause for us all to be aware of, but is this actually, well, doing anything? It's at least set a chain of events into action. The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation reported, per the Post, that it has seen a big surge in people subscribing to its Facebook "fan page." And apparently, the foundation's page could use the kick: The Washington Post article indicates that there were only 135 of those fans to begin with.

Whether that will translate into legitimate donations isn't clear. Online charity campaigns can be fickle--popularity doesn't equal dollars--and this one is no exception. Some of the "colors" messages may simply be coming from teenage girls looking to use the trend to inform all the boys on their Facebook friends lists that they're wearing leopard-print lingerie without appearing totally skanky.