What Makes Content Go Viral?

I like to imagine that new media market strategist’s dream about campaigns going viral. In this dream world, their brilliant strategies are tweeted and re-tweeted by the Twitter elite until they are basking in the glory of a strategy gone viral. Now I personally can’t relate to these visions haunting my dream scape, however I can understand the importance of viral marketing.

When a post or video goes viral, it’s the Internet equivalent of a standing ovation. But the problem that most people have (including me) is understanding the dimensions that something must exist in to be called “viral.”

There are thousands of “how to” articles about going viral, but is being shared by thousands of people enough? Lets take an example involving the supreme overlord of Twitter himself, Justin Bieber.

Back in November YouTube mashup artist Raheemdaplaya04 had a mashup featuring Justin Bieber, re-tweeted by the boy wonder himself. At this very moment, Justin Bieber has 17,049,942 followers, that’s 17 million people who should have been watching Raheem’s YouTube video.  So why is it that the video currently has only 194,205 views?

Almost 200,00 views is nothing to scoff at but compared to viral a video like “Friday” that has around 167 million views, it’s pretty weak stuff. This example is a testament to the fact that going “viral” cannot only be attributed to getting your content re-tweeted by an enormously famous person.

What is it that makes an article or content develop a life of it’s own? It can’t be content so amazing that the world must share it (see the aforementioned “Friday”). Going “viral” seems to be a concept that still requires a deep study into the Internet as a culture and connected network. It’s only when we understand the conditions that move people to share at a rapid rate that we can understand the concept of viral content.

Do you have a clear explanation of how going viral works? Let us know in the comment section.

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