General Question

gambitking's avatar

Why Do Viral Things go Viral?

Asked by gambitking (4176 points ) February 5th, 2013

What are the key factors contributing the ‘virulence’ of a given piece of content on the internet? How wide is the gap between content going viral or slipping into obscurity instantly?

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8 Answers

janbb's avatar

Cute babies and dancing kittens.

Blondesjon's avatar

Because folks are, for the most part, lemmings. See something you like? Share it. Share it. Share it.

plus it is incredibly easy and free, even for the most illiterate of computer illiterates, to click a link.

augustlan's avatar

Nobody knows, really. If they did, a lot more things would go viral.

gambitking's avatar

@augustlan , I couldn’t disagree more. Many, many people know, or at least have a deep insight on the subject. And there are TONS of things going viral all the time – much of it because an individual does know how.

@Blondesjon, perhaps the ‘lemming’ mentality of the masses is part of it. But people are incredibly fickle. If you’ve ever tried to get something to viral on purpose, you know those lemmings aren’t as easy to command as you think.

burntbonez's avatar

It’s like manufacturing hits. There are some people who know exactly how to do it. If you study viral videos, you can deconstruct what it is about them that makes them a hit, and you can probably reproduce it.

I don’t watch a lot of videos, but my guess is that most of them have a moment of surprise, where very unexpected things happen. That’s what makes them funny and popular. People like to see new things.

Blondesjon's avatar

@gambitking . . . The secret is finding the right lemmings to send off the cliff first. The rest will follow willingly enough.

gambitking's avatar

@Blondesjon What good are lemmings to my conversion rates if they’re falling off cliffs?

:)

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