How to become viral | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 12, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 12, 2019

How to become viral

In this day and age of memes, may-mays and monthiversarries, going viral is as important as having water in the hand shower during Number 2. Apologies to my western friends not getting the last reference because you still use dry, coarse paper.

Being noticed is important whether you want to sell dumplings and sari or your fake glamorous life in Tahiti. Going viral is the holy grail where the heavens open, scented money showers down while baby pandas play 90's synth pop.

Everybody and their newly Facebooking grandma want to go viral. How do you do it?

Keeping it short

No one wants to read too much. Or watch a video about how to do good in your society for more than 10 seconds. No one can remember because they are too busy wanting to check  up on their Insta stories. Scientists have discovered that goldfish now condescendingly use humans as reference in their fishy conversations. Any goldfish that cannot remember things for more than five seconds is considered to have the memory of a human. Scientists would have published all this if they were not busy posing pictures with the goldfish on Insta stories. Keep your viral stories brief.

Connect emotionally

Of course, people will watch anything. 'Ami baat kai, apnara deken.' That was all the rage last week as people ate food and asked viewers to watch. And people watched as a woman and subsequent followers devoured food in ways only acceptable to a hungry python. Except people watched and watched those videos as if there was no season two of Umbrella Academy on Netflix. That is because everyone connected emotionally. We love food, we fight over food. But mostly we were so horrified, we could not turn away. The rice eating woman played on our emotions of horror and hunger.

Be genuine, but be clever first

This happens to be a little difficult. You want to tell people to not litter. No one cares. Sure, people understand it is socially wrong but if you lower your car window just three inches and throw out the plastic bottle, IT IS OKAY in your mind.

Treepex.com was a site promoting this device that transformed polluted air into fresh oxygen. Dhaka denizens want it. We need it because we are making sure our spot on the polluted air list stays at the top. We are willing to kill for that, mostly ourselves. Millions of people watched Treepex's product-introduction video. it was revolutionary how a small lipstick sized object under your nose could purify the air. They fooled everyone though. What they really do is plant trees. Trees purify air by creating oxygen. They got people interested and then boom, they got people to plant trees. Sort of.

Get people to interact

Give them shareable content. Imagine eggs with your brand on it provided to attendees at political events and concerts. Australian teenager Will Connolly recently shot to viral fame. He egged Australian Senator Fraser Anning who made controversial comments against the Muslim community following the recent Christchurch mosque attacks. The fame wasn't Will's intention but he stood up to something that people only supported from their keyboards. 

Let people comment

A recent Dhaka based initiative on Facbeook saw women sporting T-shirts with a pointed remark aimed at men in public places. The slogan asked men not to rub against women while standing. While most people connected emotionally, considered it a genuine issue and interacted positively, It rubbed many men the wrong way. They took to the social media channels to comment, eventually showing their true nature to friends and family. They were truly miffed by the idea that rubbing against women may not be the fun and acceptable activity they thought it to be. They complained that this was a tactic to 'get viral'. It worked, didn't it?

Of course, becoming viral is a difficult pursuit. You could easily end up becoming a virus instead just like that rice eating woman after the first week. Nobody wants that.

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