#62 How to Go Viral in 2021
Sort of. A key ingredient in the formula for virality
It’s as old as time. It’s that sense of awe that comes with discovery or a question answered after deep exploration. It’s that sense of “woah, that’s new,” that comes with being exposed to an entirely different perspective that excites you.
The best stories create (or express) a sense of wonder. They take a moment or an idea and turn it into something that draws in your audience and takes them on a journey from beginning to some new unknown end. They’re a spark that lights up some part of your brain in a way that makes you stop and take notice.
Full disclosure: I have never gone viral in the internet sense of things. I have certainly created stories and posted things that have been meaningful to my audiences and that sparked a conversation, but in the thousands of views and shares on social type of viral I have not quite got there. But I have enjoyed watching it happen over and over on the internet.
According to Angus Fletcher a neuroscientist that studies storytelling, “Wonder is life through the eyes of a child. It’s the first glimpse of a flower, or the discovery of oceans, or the parting of the clouds at the high touch of heaven.”
I think viral posts are tapping into and creating wonder in their own ways. Going viral is about sparking that sense of wonder while tapping into something relevant in the moment. It’s about capturing the zeitgeist or element of being human and reflecting it back to us in a way that sparks a sense of wonder.
For example, this little bit of joy (start at 4:10, you’re welcome):
I don’t think people who go viral create their posts, or tik tok dances, or memes with the expectation of going viral (though I’m sure there’s the hope), more often than not its those unexpected shares that tap into something in all of us and is on our minds that get us to click retweet, like, or share that they’ve hit upon that is at work.
So while I can’t give you a formula for going viral (though there are plenty of charlatans out there who will claim to be able to) I can tell you that a key ingredient is that combination of wonder and relevance that can get you there. It’s bite sized storytelling that taps into the moment or the minute in exactly the right way. Play with that and see where it gets you, if going viral is your thing that is.
A Story Well Told
A few more viral examples from twitter: