Make your content Viral in Social Media

Making your content viral in Social Media: Making sense of Social Media

This article is an attempt to understand the Social Media like Facebook. What makes someone really like something? Why certain things go viral?

Wild India: Tiger Stalking its prey

Wild India: Tiger Stalking its prey

On Saturday, March 16th I posted an image of a stalking Tiger with the following quote.

Stealth: While stalking the tiger places its hind paw at exactly the same spot where the forepaw was, so that there is no noise of crushing leaves, knocking off loose stones etc. On the contrary, there have been many instances of soldiers rushing headlong into battle and getting killed. Any body remembers the infamous “Charge of the Light Brigade” in the Crimean war? (Oct 1853-Feb 1856) Foolishly this brigade had charged headlong and 118 of them were killed, 127 wounded and 60 taken as prisoner. If its British commander would have had the intelligence of the Tiger, then he would not have passed such an order.”

After couple of hours I was surprised to see that the image had been viewed some 41,000 times and by the end of the day more than a lakh of people had viewed it. As of writing this, I see the image has been shared 1094 times and viewed a total of 225,600 i.e. close to a quarter of a million people have viewed it. (To see the image in facebook check here: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=179212138893442&set=a.170733286407994.40006.169642873183702&type=1&theater)

The power of the social media in reaching out to people has been stunning. It ofcourse throws positive light on the intelligence of the tiger. An interesting experience that I had shared earlier about the intelligence of the tiger can be seen here:http://www.indiawilds.com/diary/tiger-intelligence/

On 20th March 2013, I shared an image in facebook of a wild deer chewing a potato wafers packet with the following message “Please don’t drop your wafers packets out of the car, bus or train window. Herbivores like this deer will lick it for salt content. They often swallow it and die a painful death. Also, they get hit by speeding vehicles when they come closeto the roads to lick these wafers packets. For some more details on impact of plastics please check this discussion in IndiaWilds forums:http://www.indiawilds.com/forums/showthread.php?t=108

It again went mini-viral and the image got shared 1733 times and was viewed 132,416 times as on 23rd March. This once again highlights the power of the social media.

www.indiawilds.comdiarysabyasachi_20090830_1153.jpg

Deer (Axis axis) chewing wafers packet for its salt content. Many deers get killed after swallowing the plastic packets and also get hit by passing vehicles in the road and railway tracks

Earlier my short film titled “Blood Betting” on the gory sport of cockfights was about to go viral in youtube with about 2000+ hits every day. Suddenly it attracted lot of loonies and they started fighting among themselves writing some stupid comments. One of them complained to youtube that I am promoting animal abuse and youtube immediately removed the short film. Though I am an official content partner in youtube, being new to social media has got its own drawbacks. After close to a month, I found out hidden among the menu that I have a right to appeal button. When I appealed, the short film was reinstated. However, youtube in their infinite wisdom classified it as suitable for Above 18 audience and classified it as Age Restricted content. Which means, youtube will not show it among suggested videos to people. However, the moment the video was reinstated, it started attracting 200 odd hits daily. I predict it to again reach the previous level of hits in some time.

 

Why something becomes viral?

Now coming to the question of why a particular image, video or other content becomes viral.Is it because of good content?

Yes. The content ie. tiger image that went viral in Facebook is one of my good images showing the behavriour of the tiger.

In case of the Blood Betting film, the camera was directly in the midst of action. In one case, I had to jump backwards to take evasive action, as the sharp curved knife tied to the leg of the cock can kill a man.

The Blood Betting film also had gory content, and I guess there are some people who may love gore.
It had content which appealed to audiences in Philippines where cock fights are legal and has got a very large fan following.
It had content which is of interest to some audiences as they can learn new techniques, either of cock fights or of a vet dressing.

Did the information given along with the tiger image play a part?

I guess so. The information explains the behaviour of the tiger and also talks about one dimension which is not often known by people. The normal perception of people is that tiger is blood thirsty killer. Whereas it is not. It doesn’t rush headlong and kill its prey. And the information also gave example of how we humans have acted foolishly. I presume that might have made people thinking. I hope so.

 

In case of the Deer chewing the wafters packet, the information given is definitely in sync with the image and appealed to the sensibility of people. It is also very easy to understand and people can very easily take preventive action.

 

Psyche of people engaged in social media

If many people are sharing a good thing, then others too feel that the content is likely to be good. When the Kolaveri D song had gone viral and seen by several crore people, I am sure not everybody understood its meaning. It was seen as the in thing and hence people talked about it. In the deer chewing wafers packet, it immediately espouses a cause which people are familiar with. So they feel good in sharing the image with others.

Feeling as an Artist:
First an artist would like his work to be seen. Whether people praise it or pan it is secondary. I dont create content to suit the taste of other people. My MBA training should have forced me to treat customer as God and create masala films. I still hear directors and music directors talking of adding this and that to spice up the film. As an artist I dont care. Am I nave? I am sure, given the immense reach of the media today, there would be sufficient people to appreciate good content. So do you think content is king? I will talk about it in another article.

Is there a secret formula to ensure something becomes viral?

I dont know if there is indeed a secret formula. Even if there is a formula, I have no idea what it is. This article is an attempt to understand why some of my images or films are becoming successful. Perhaps I should ditch that part of my analytical mind? What to do, I have been trained as an Engineer and MBA. ?

 

I would love to hear your views as to why something becomes viral in social media.

(This article was edited on 23rd March 2013).