Published on February 25th, 2013 | by Chinedu Abili-Mordi9
What Makes Content like the Harlem Shake Viral?
By now if you haven’t stumbled upon the internet Meme making the rounds currently : ” The Harlem Shake ” – I’d indulge you in 30 Seconds of my best version and in your own spare time advise you check out the other videos online & generally google everything you can about it.
This Febuary, the internet was alive with the buzz of the harlem shake, with staggering figures hitting YouTube & various corporations wondering how they can capitalize on this online craze that came out of nowhere, unplanned, unknown & totally unaccounted for.
Critics have labelled it a Phase that would hold no significant impact on the online community simply because they can’t tag & bag it with a good reason why it has become what it is, just like P.S.Y’s Gangnam Style ( over a billion views on Youtube for a single Video ).
Today’s technology, especially Information Technology is so interwoven with the Social, Economic & Political aspects of Humanity as a whole, its been hard to sometimes view it as an individual sector that could have a “empathic” factor – that was until the mainstream rise of social media.
Social Media brought about online behavior that made Technology the pivot for Social, Economic and Political views to be more accessible without the existing limitation that physically exist. And with this online behavior… Viral Content thrived!
But what most people don’t know is that Tech-Savvy & Industry Professionals have been trying to understand what makes a content go Viral. Back in the days, Viral Marketing prior to Social Media culture was the buzzword everyone wanted to crack. If you had the formula for how to make a content go viral online, you could become the demi-god of mass communication.
Those who would love to capitalize on this, believe the #harlemShake exposed something primal to the insightful – Fun might be the core Virus that makes Viral Campaigns hit. They had suspected it ( Fun ) was all you needed to make an idea go viral -just make sure its “funny” sha! & people would laugh, share and replicate – end of story?
Corporates have already began fashioning campaigns and hiring agencies to get that Fun ingredient into their Product / Service to ignite mass appeal. And a “Cool in a Bottle ” solution that media houses can drink up quickly and trigger mass follower-ship already seems to be in the works.
Personally, I’ve had to laugh at the thought that now there would be a rush to make things go viral by making them fun. Last year, I believe the virus was cool & the year before that – fresh. Companies should understand that they can not create viral content as they are. Also Brands & Personalities don’t create viral content either, but they spread it. So companies must invest in them ( brands & people ) if they want things to go viral.
A Virus is what it is because it has no way of existing outside a host. Hence Viral Content begin with a Brand or Personality – A Patient Zero. It spreading is dependent on how potent the content is ( not how funny, cool or fresh it is ) & how well it can replicate ( a share button, a meme ) & Human Nature.
Human Nature can create an immunity to your intended Viral attack or be totally weak to it. Human Nature is the “Why” Viral Content exist in the first place. So instead of thinking up the next big internet meme, why not invest some quality time understanding Human Nature.
A good attack isn’t the strongest, just the one that is smart enough to exploit the target’ s weaknesses.