What Does It Mean To Go Viral?

Quck answer

Going viral refers to the rapid spread and popularity of content, such as videos, articles, or social media posts, across the internet. When something goes viral, it gains significant attention and is shared extensively by a large number of people. The content can become viral through various means, such as being shared by influential individuals, tapping into popular trends or emotions, or simply being highly entertaining or informative. Going viral can lead to increased visibility, reach, and engagement for the creator or brand behind the content. However, it can also be unpredictable and challenging to replicate the success of viral content.

What were your thoughts on Baby Shark? How about Caine’s Arcade? Did you witness that massive glacier collapse in Iceland? These videos captured the attention of millions of people in just a few days, all thanks to the internet!

These examples are all instances of viral videos. During the winter, viral is the last word you want to hear. It describes illnesses that easily spread from person to person. Sometimes, this can result in an entire classroom getting sick at once.

However, if you’re seeking internet fame, then viral is a word you adore. Nowadays, “going viral” means sharing something through email or social media that quickly spreads to millions of people online. The term “viral video” didn’t come into existence until 2009. It was initially used to describe the video “David after Dentist.”

Viral videos have the power to turn individuals into overnight internet celebrities. Can you imagine waking up tomorrow and discovering that millions of people know your name? For some, it’s a dream come true. Others prefer to keep their lives more private.

Nevertheless, privacy and viral videos don’t really go hand in hand. Typically, viral videos amass at least 5 million views. And they’re not just a big deal online! When a video goes viral, people discuss it. They describe it to their friends and families. They laugh about it at the lunch table. Viral videos don’t solely spread through shares – word of mouth still plays a significant role.

What are viral videos about? They can be about almost anything. Many are humorous videos that elicit laughter. Others may capture actual events on camera. The common thread among viral videos is that they’re intriguing. They inspire people to share them with their friends.

Do you have a pet that does something funny? How about a friend with a unique talent? Is there something fascinating about your hometown? Any of these topics can transform into viral videos.

Today, there are more videos online than ever before. People can easily record videos using just their smartphones and upload them to platforms like YouTube. Over five billion videos are watched online every day. Which of those videos will go viral? You can never be certain. However, certain characteristics increase the likelihood of a video going viral.

Most viral videos are short. 19 percent of viewers close a video after the first ten seconds. This means that a video that is funny or interesting at the beginning is more likely to go viral. Additionally, videos that evoke laughter or positive emotions are shared more frequently. Lastly, a video is much more likely to go viral if it is timely. Anything that connects to current events has the potential to reach a wide audience.

Do you have a favorite viral video or picture? Would you like to become the next viral YouTube star? In today’s digital world, anything is possible.

Give It a Try

  • Have you ever wondered what it would be like to become an overnight sensation? Would you embrace the fame or seek refuge? Compose a narrative where you create a post that goes viral. What was the content of your post? Did the reaction to it lean towards the positive or negative? And what unfolds next in your story?
  • Not everything you encounter online should be taken at face value! False information can spread just as rapidly as genuine stories. Unsure of how to distinguish between the two? Consult this guide on identifying fake news. Then, share your newfound knowledge with a friend or family member.
  • Are you familiar with the catchy tune of “Baby Shark” (do doo do do do doo)? How many amusing cat videos have you come across? Discuss a few of your favorite viral videos with a friend or family member. If possible, explore some new ones together!

Sources of Wonder

  • https://www.forbes.com/sites/ilyapozin/2014/08/07/6-qualities-to-make-your-videos-go-viral/#7faf1592154e (accessed on June 10, 2019)
  • https://www.adweek.com/digital/what-makes-a-video-viral/ (accessed on June 10, 2019)


1. What does it mean to go viral?

Going viral refers to the rapid spread and popularity of content, usually on the internet, through sharing and reposting. When something goes viral, it means that it is being widely shared and viewed by a large number of people within a short period of time. This can include videos, memes, articles, or social media posts that capture the attention and interest of a wide audience.

2. How does something go viral?

There is no guaranteed formula for making something go viral, as it often happens unexpectedly. However, certain factors can increase the chances of content going viral. These include creating something unique, interesting, and relatable, as well as utilizing social media platforms effectively. Content that evokes strong emotions, such as laughter, surprise, or awe, is more likely to be shared. Additionally, having influential individuals or popular websites share the content can also contribute to its virality.

3. What are the benefits of going viral?

Going viral can have several benefits, both for individuals and businesses. It can significantly increase visibility and exposure, leading to a larger audience and potential growth in followers or customers. Going viral can also generate media attention and attract new opportunities, such as partnerships or sponsorships. For businesses, viral content can boost brand awareness and potentially increase sales. Additionally, going viral can provide a sense of validation and recognition for content creators, as their work is being appreciated and acknowledged by a wide audience.

4. Are there any negative aspects to going viral?

While going viral can have many positive outcomes, there can also be negative aspects to consider. One potential downside is the loss of control over the content. Once something goes viral, it can be shared and altered by others, sometimes leading to misinterpretation or negative feedback. Going viral can also attract trolls or online harassment, which can be emotionally draining and potentially harmful. Furthermore, the sudden influx of attention and pressure to create more viral content can be overwhelming and challenging to sustain in the long term.

5. Can businesses benefit from going viral?

Absolutely! Going viral can be extremely beneficial for businesses. It can significantly increase brand exposure, attract new customers, and potentially lead to increased sales. Viral content can also help businesses establish a positive reputation and build a loyal customer base. However, it is important for businesses to ensure that their viral content aligns with their brand values and messaging, as going viral for the wrong reasons can have negative consequences. It is also crucial to have a solid marketing strategy in place to capitalize on the increased visibility and convert viral attention into long-term success.

6. Can individual content creators benefit from going viral?

Absolutely! Going viral can provide individual content creators with numerous benefits. It can lead to increased visibility and recognition, attracting new followers and potential collaborations or partnerships. Going viral can also open up new opportunities and career paths, such as brand sponsorships or media appearances. Additionally, the financial aspect cannot be ignored, as viral content can generate revenue through advertising, sponsorships, or merchandise sales. However, it is important for content creators to stay true to their authentic selves and continue producing quality content to maintain their audience and capitalize on the viral attention.

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