Going Viral

Virality as defined by Google is the tendency of an image, video, or piece of information to be circulated rapidly and widely from one Internet user to another; the quality or fact of being viral. Anything can go viral today on the internet, from stories, videos, picture, memes, etc. This makes virality a part of the field of communications.
Understanding what makes a certain meme, picture, or video go viral is a major part of communications. It helps people in the field keep up with what is popular to the younger generation. This in turn makes it easier to market to this target audience. By using the same characteristics of something that went viral communications professionals can use these same tactics in their professions.
Jonah Berger outlines comprehensive “STEPPS” system in his book, Contagious: Why Things Catch On, which looks at common elements on viral pieces of content. One element is social currency. This is the concept that people share and post things them look good. The more interesting posts and shares equal more social currency. Another element is emotion. People have the tendency to share things that strike them emotionally. Triggers are another important part that makes up virality. If a brand, topic, or product has common trigger, such as a common greeting, it is more likely to go viral.
Becoming viral is one the most effective ways to spread word of a product or idea, especially in today’s society. Understanding what makes something go viral is important for communication specialists. Important elements of virality are popularity or fads, emotion, and triggers.
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