Wanna Go Viral? Ask Grandma for Help

As I work on my content creation, expand my meme knowledge, gif designing, and become versed in the latest internet LOLs, I pause to reflect.

What causes some darts thrown at the digital boards to stick, and others to miss entirely?

Improving your chances of going viral  is a topic written ad nauseum by everyone from About.com  to Forbes .  But what’s missing from these studies is what’s at the heart of the internet itself: ease-of-access.

Remember the Harlem Shake?

Harlem Shake Before

Harlem Shake After - tumblr

It’s a rhetorical question because not only do you remember, you made one.

Looking back, the viral dance craze seems absurd. But at the time everyone from Russian soldiers to grandma was shakin’ their goods. Sure the first person to post the video probably followed the suggested guidelines of going viral: being current, using quality keywords and meta tags, and submission through multiple social channels. But then again, so does every wannabe content marketer.

The Harlem Shake went viral specifically because of the reason mentioned above: “everyone from Russian soldiers to grandma” could make it. It was simple. Easy to replicate. Relatable. Going viral depends on simplicity to recreate.

Now, straight off the heels of its acceptance as an actual word , the selfie is evolving. Go ahead and search for #SelfieOlympics. The three-quarter angle, mirror-reflected selfie is no longer the gem of Twitter’s eye. It’s all about taking your selfie game to the extreme. Now it’s about:

Adding props


Wearing costumes


Taking it to dangerous heights


Shooting in questionable poses


And the internet is eating it up.

In a couple months, whatever’s next will reveal itself on all our screens. But for now, the #SelfieOlympics is going viral in a big way.

And sorry to break the news to all the professional digital and content marketers, this is an example of how trends truly go viral. It happens organically. With no profitable motive. It can be a kid being creative. A pet owner taking an innocent cat picture. Or a goofy dance.

But above all else, it’s simple to understand and easy enough for even the most novice of internet users to repeat.


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