Going Viral: What Does it Mean?

It seems as though you can’t turn you head anymore without hearing the phrase, “going viral.” It is all the buzz on every media outlet.

In the good ol’ days viral referred to an infection that made people ill. Today it stands for a piece of content that is shared around the globe in a short amount of time.

However the act of a virus spreading quickly from one area to another still holds true. All it takes is one person to share it with another and could possibly lead to thousands or millions of recipients.

Content comes in different shapes and sizes, images, videos, and text posts are prime example of potential viral material. As with a biological virus, containment is often difficult and once released is no longer in the hands of the original sharer.

Social media has really influenced the viral effect with its ease to share content. It used to be that content went viral once it was on TV now content starts on the internet and once going viral makes it to TV.

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User generated content has never had this much power, the whole concept of millions of views used to be only for TV shows not YouTube videos. Viral content does not have a specific subject; it can be anything from a video of a cat to a sporting event.

People who want to have their material go viral are finding it very challenging. This is because there is an unpredictability factor and loss of control after initial content launch. The best marketers can do is pay attention to how users share content and how fast it travels.

In order for a piece of content to become viral it needs to strike a chord with people. It needs to bring out some kind of emotional connection, such as humor, nostalgia, or fear.

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