This Guy Ranted About 'Viral' Content. You Won't Believe What He Suggested.
Upworthy. Buzzfeed. What do they all have in common? Well, for one, they're generating gazillions of pageviews (not 100% accurate figure) and banking stacks upon stacks of Benjamins (accurate figure). While insanely simple, their content gets viewed and shared like no other. Over the past 10 years, social media has programmed us to be more selective with what we give attention because there's now more things than ever before begging for our attention.
Sites like Buzzfeed and Upworthy have simply taken advantage of this fact, crafting slick headlines that appeal to us on an entertainment and often deep emotional level. No matter what new case study tells you, there are no secrets; it's basic psychological understanding. Whenever someone or some thing is doing well, it's often emulated. This is no more apparent in the content space with everyone from bob's small business to mega soda brand trying to get in on the action.
However, it's created a growing trend of mind-numbing, cookie cutter, bottom of the barrel substance that's focused on grabbing the most eyeballs instead of grabbing the eyeballs that matter most. Eyeballs are great, but when did it not matter where they were coming from? It seems that as long as they're facing your general direction, it's a good thing.
If you're in the news business, yes, and yes, having a lot of pageviews and shares help you appear to be more authorative. But we shouldn't feel a need to push the same product everyone else is selling just because it's the hip thing to do.
I've wrote "viral" content before, and probably would again if the right opportunity came along. Hell, I even helped run a site that posted similar content before. I just feel that, while Buzzfeed or Upworthy-esque posts are on fire right now, and serve their purpose, there's a bigger opportunity than ever before to bring some serious quality to the world.
Stories. Experiences. Vlogs straight from the heart, unscripted. There are ways you can still make an impact even if the numbers aren't pleasing to your lizard brain.
You may not get 10,000 likes, but did they truly matter in the first place? How about just 10 messages or emails? That's a good place to start.
Photo credit: David Goehring
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