When I think about viral content the first recent example that pops into my mind is Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball video, so I’ll be referencing a lot to her video. You may be thinking, “How does viral content even become viral?” well that can be answered easily, through social media. Social media has amazing features like uploads/posts, comments, and even customization that help spread unique trending topics that can later become viral.
I am mostly invested in Facebook than any other social media so most of my references will be based on Facebook, incase you are wondering why I only mention Facebook. Uploads are a great way to spread content with anyone you are friends with. Whether it be uploading a status, video, or picture the user is basically saying, “Hey! I think this is worth looking at for a few seconds so I am going to share it so LOOK!” When a user uploads they are essentially open to people “sharing” their content because why else would they post it if it wasn’t for the whole world to see? My example of Miley’s “Wrecking Ball” video is a great example of sharing at its finest. This video was the most talked about, and still is, topic at the beginning of 2014. When she made that video no one could believe that Disney channels old star Miley Cyrus would ever make a video so controversial. Just incase you have been living under a rock this year I am talking about this Youtube upload which has over 500 million views! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=My2FRPA3Gf8.)
A user also has the ability to customize their profile. Customization is an easy and popular feature for a user to make their profile unique and original. One trending way to customize a page is through your profile picture. Along with Miley’s trending video users were taking advantage of their customization feature by making their profile picture a Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” related meme. (WARNING: this external link might be a bit graphic to some people, viewer discretion is advised.) This meme, http://www.oopslive.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/enhanced-buzz-22464–300×334.jpg, is a picture, from oopalive.com, I saw very often as user’s profile picture after the video came out. There are a lot of other interesting remakes of her video as a picture but you get the point. This added to the hilarity of the video and gave viewers something else to talk about besides her video.
When a user uploads or changes their profile picture they are opening themselves up to comments. Comments are a great feature for other people to add their input on a post. When a user comments they have the option of commenting with words and/or photos. To continue on the Miley example some people would comment on posts, whether Miley related or not, with a picture that showed how they were feeling about a certain situation. For example if a post was confrontational and people were taking sides you might come across a picture like this, http://weknowmemes.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/thors-reaction-to-wrecking-ball-meme1.jpg, taken from weknowmemes.com. This not only added to the conversation but also added more attention to the video.
Whether Miley meant for her video to become viral or not social media users took advantage of their free features to showcase their opinions about her unbelievably unique video. Here is a great infographic to wrap up viral content, (http://www.socialmediaexplorer.com/content-marketing-2/5-key-elements-of-viral-content-infographic/), by Mark Smiciklas.
Safko, Lon, and David K. Brake. “Chapter 2.” The Social Media Bible: Tactics, Tools, and Strategies for Business Success. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2009. N. pag. Print.
Oopslive- , http://www.oopslive.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/enhanced-buzz-22464–300×334.jpg
Weknowmemes- , http://weknowmemes.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/thors-reaction-to-wrecking-ball-meme1.jpg
Mark Smiciklas- http://www.socialmediaexplorer.com/content-marketing-2/5-key-elements-of-viral-content-infographic/