500 Words: Going Viral with the Power of (more than) One

500 Words on Thursday  | Written by Lee Schneider

What makes a video go viral?

I was at lunch with a prospective client the other day and we were conspiring about how to get his videos more exposure. I suggested putting cats in them, but it appears that I am wrong about that.

According to Jonah Berger, a marketing prof at the Wharton School and author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On, there is a science to creating viral popularity. Cats don’t enter into it much, he writes, but human behavior does quite a bit.

He says that social currency is one essential factor for viral success. People tend to share things online that make them look good or provide tips and info to others. That’s why videos titled ‘Best of [fill in the blank]’ and ‘Top 10 [list of things]’ are winners – the title alone tells you that you know something, are a smart curator, and have info worth sharing. If your video has an emotional component it can also go viral. Outrage works, as in Dave Carroll’s …

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