Jargon Busting No. 28 – Viral

Going viral is something that many people who use the internet to try and promote a product, event or idea desperately want.  Going viral can make someone or something famous over night. Before the internet, trends were spread by word of mouth and now they are spread online, they go viral. Videos, photos, emails spread quickly like a virus, with one person sharing the video, email, photo or whatever online perhaps on Facebook or Twitter and then other people share that the same content on their Facebook or Twitter and so on and so on.

What I think is most interesting is that as well as being shared online people do talk about things that go viral online, and you can feel left out if you haven’t seen the ‘hilarious video’ or the ‘cute cat photo’ or whatever it is. So you seek it out so you know what everyone is talking about. 

Many people think that going viral is pure luck, the reality is that is rarely the case. Instead there is a usually a huge amount of work goes in to getting people to view and then share whatever it is you want millions of people to see. Given that social media is so new with most platforms being less than 5 years old, marketing and promotion experts are still learning what makes something go viral. There are times it can seem completely hit and miss and sometimes no one knows why something goes viral. Personally I’m still trying to understand why KPop star Psy went viral but as of 10:30pm tonight Gangnam Style had been viewed over a 1 billion times!! 1 billion, the world has officially gone mad IMHO (in my humble opinion).

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