We used to throw that word around a lot, didn't we? Viral. Viral content.
I had this written down as a topic I wanted to write about for about a year. I'm finally getting around to revisiting it. And I want to take just a few short minutes and a few short paragraphs to talk about something truly fascinating as it relates to organic viruses and viral content.
We first have to state the obvious. Everything has changed. When I first thought of writing about this topic, it might have been after a long dinner at my favorite restaurant followed by a few Negronis at my favorite cocktail bar. It likely originated through engaging conversation, and none of us were wearing masks.
Still, ideas spread. And the reality is the world has changed, not the word.
By definition, viral content are the blog posts, videos, memes, and other materials that rapidly spread across the internet and other digital channels via link sharing and social media.
Like organic viruses, viral content knows no boundaries. It's restricted only by the mechanisms in which it exists. Whether through human contact or the digital footprint, they both spread to all types of audiences who come in contact with them. But then you come to the most fascinating thing of all when comparing organic viruses to viral content.
They both rely on imperfections.
Viruses spread through our bodies. Pandemics spread across the globe because our immune systems aren't perfect. They have to build up tolerance and resistance to new, novelcoronaviruses, for example.
And viral content relies on our imperfections because humans want to feel connected. Is it an enjoyable imperfection and part of what makes life worth living? Of course. It's what makes us human, the need to feel interconnected or part of a team. It's what makes quarantine so difficult. But the only way that content can truly become viral is if it's compelling enough to share. And how is it compelling enough to share?
It has to be authentic. Let me repeat. It has to be authentic.
If you don't believe me, let me provide a simple challenge. Please think back through your mental archives or search the web, and please provide a single piece of viral content that wasn't authentic. Now, authentic doesn't have to mean it happened in real life or it's from footage that wasn't doctored. Authentic means it's real, however you define that. And if it's real, and there are other people who have the same definition of real, it has the chance to go viral.