In some cases, these characteristics are present by accident. The creator simply shared their story without realizing its viral nature. This happened to a mother in Texas after sharing a video of her daughter’s priceless reaction to receiving a doll with a prosthetic leg. The video has more than nine million views and was a feature story on local and national news.
The Anatomy of a Viral Post
Let's take a closer look into the anatomy of a viral post. As mentioned previously, there are three distinctive elements that cause a post to go viral. It doesn’t need to have all three, but if it does it stands a very good chance of going viral.
First, a viral post has to be newsworthy. When news broke that Mohammed Ali recently passed away, it was the top trending story across Facebook and Twitter. The substantial publicity in the media also helped push the story to a viral level. Sometimes a video or post doesn't get noticed by the press until it hits a viral level where it becomes more newsworthy.
This brings us to the second characteristic of a viral post, emotion. A viral post creates an emotional connection with a large number of viewers. It may be something that the audience find hilarious, unusual, weird, heartfelt, or another strong emotional feeling. Whether you are a brand or an individual, creating a viral video or post requires the courage to create something that is so over the top that it is difficult to ignore.
Often, but not always, something that is hard to ignore also happens to be controversial, which is the third characteristic of going viral. For example, Donald Trump is arguably the most controversial political figure of the 21st century, so it’s not surprising that much of his content goes viral across social media.
You don't have to be a celebrity to go viral either. Had social media been around in 1985 when Coca Cola changed its formula it would have gone viral. There was an onslaught of media attention much of it negative. Just about everyone in the country was talking about it at the time making it one of the top new stories of the 20th century. While the way we get our news and information has changed over the years, the anatomy of a viral story hasn’t changed.
Image Credit: Kirill Kniazev | Flickr