Going Viral: A Mini Case Study
First it was planking.
Then it was about going Gangnam Style.
Next it was Marco Rubio’s Poland Springs/Watergate fail.
Now it’s the Harlem Shake.
On a weekly basis, millions of video clips hit the online web with the pure attempt of going viral. To ‘go viral’ is the process in which content passes through electronic mail and social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.), and become extremely popular in a very short period of time.
Yet what makes online content go viral? According to Kate Murphy of the New York Times, it boils down to narcissism: “Remember, it’s not about you, it’s about who is watching you. Be conscious and considerate of your audience and its needs, rather than getting mired in your own egotism or insecurity.”
Viral videos come and go as the next trending topic finds it way to the top of Twitter’s hit list. Yet the following elements tend to always resonate in the meat and bones of what makes a video go viral:
Authentic and Genuine
Viral videos always have an unpretentious appeal to them. They either grapple at our heartstrings, or cause us to laugh out loud upon viewing them. This feeling cannot be faked.
Trend Worthiness… but not Forced Upon You
Advertisements have no say in this realm of content. Going viral isn’t something that can be planned, predicated, or in anyway controlled. They can only be reproduced, and in the scope of trends, they usually facilitate at such a high rate pace only sharing them will suffice. One greatly diminishes their chances of going viral by forcing the content on consumers. Videos trying to go viral must go through a gradual sharing progress to reach the status of buzz-worthiness.
The Game of Telephone X’s 10
Word of mouth is the foundation of what makes a video go viral. One friend shares it with two, while another two share it with twenty. Then a thousand. Then it reaches the point of millions. ReTweets. Favorites. Likes. And downloads. Welcome to the world of viral.
At CRAFT | Media / Digital, there is a core understanding here that paying attention to cultural shifts directly dictates whether or not you will be relevant in the online media space. So while it is important to understand the inner workings of exit polls and designated market areas, it is just as equally important to understand where the pulse of today’s generation beats.
CRAFT | Media / Digital [Harlem Shake Edition]: