Precision. Expertise. Skill. Preparation. Pristine Execution. Perfect words for whatever Tom Cruise has lined up in the next Mission Impossible movie, but these aren’t words that describe going viral.
Some sources go deeper into the math of going viral, but they, too say anything that reaches halfway around the world in a matter of minutes involves some luck.
After the surge in smartphone technology, the term ‘viral’ became less used with illnesses and more synonymous with the ability to achieve fame in short periods of time.
Where does this fame originate? Can you remember the last viral video you saw on YouTube, Facebook or Twitter? Did it involve a cute cat or dog, or perhaps a new take on an old meme? Was it the video of the British wife detailing her husband’s car with her photos or Will Smith belting out La Bamba?
It turns out, any modicum of celebrity is crucial. After that, the criteria for going viral must include massive amounts emotional connections, immense comedic value – we’re looking at you, Chewbacca Mom – or the ever-indefinable ‘wow’ factors.
Viral news articles are rare, and blogs are rarer still. The most famous blogs don’t start with thousands of followers and produce earth-shattering content day in and day out. Revered bloggers work for their day in the sun just as hard as any other (written) content creator.
But with video sometimes all you need is good, natural light, clear audio, and a MacGuffin. A MacGuffin is a plot device that moves the primary character from one point to the other.
That’s because viral videos share two things in common. Charisma and a camera.
Were we really in awe of the Chewbacca mask itself? Not really. The mask was already on the clearance rack when Candace Payne bought it. She made it come to life.
And that’s all going viral means, ironically. Once a term describing something that zaps the energy from us now adds to our daily regiment of uplifting humor, breaking news and other energizing media moments.