Viral content is a piece of media that becomes popular through word-of-mouth and social media, often in the form of an image, video, or news story.
The term ‘viral’ refers to something which spreads like a virus from one person to another. In recent years, viral content has become so influential that some people have begun questioning whether these videos are ruining our culture by fueling sensationalism and misinformation.
Viral content usually has a short time period after release in which it becomes popular online. Although this wasn’t actually newsworthy enough for me to read through the whole thing (and it’s probably not for you either), many people were curious about this particular event and shared the link with their friends.
Another factor about viral content is how emotional it makes us feel when we encounter the information online. When we see something shocking or emotional, we want to share it with our peers.
For example, many people on my Facebook feed shared a video of a dog who goes into cardiac arrest and then recovers after its owner kisses and cuddles him. I saw this same video weeks later and still cried just as hard as I did during the first viewing: there is something so moving about seeing an animal’s loyalty towards its loving owner that naturally brings tears to our eyes.
Another thing about viral content is how authentic it seems to be – does the piece seem legitimate? Does it seem believable enough for you to show your friends? Authentic pieces of media appear to be more popular and successful on the internet than pieces that are obviously fake.
We like to share content that we know others will like too, if not love – and we trust our friends’ opinions more than random sources online.