"Viral" - the infection of the 21st century.

Going viral is a term that garners some sort of response, whether it be positive or negative.  The sudden increase in popularity, or what should be called the modern fifteen minutes of fame, is difficult to maintain. You can be one of the guys who beat up a helpless high school student or you can be the funniest video on YouTube. It all seems like a surefire way to gain recognition, and for the most part, it is. If you can somehow make your product go viral, kudos to you. But the product of what the consumer receives in these viral products, although somewhat worthy of the hype, are ironically disappointing to true content. Going viral is all about luck. Call Me Maybe didn't become popular because it's a lyrical or composed masterpiece; it isn't. Justin Bieber's advertisement of the song helped the song go viral in a matter of hours. A peak at good fortune is what makes these videos, songs, and  performances so successful. Therein lies the problem. The content in things going viral usually aren't material worth the attention. Sure, they interest the viewer for a few minutes, perhaps hours, and it's shared between social networks. But why is it shared? There's a certain amount of hype regarding the viral product that it makes us want to feel included. It's simple and logical thinking. If four friends shared the same video, surely we want to get the word out to our friends before some other friend from Virginia posts the video. It's considered unique to discover something first, and to have it blow up in views within a few hours, the posting is like an accomplishment, at least to some degree. 

There shouldn't be a problem with things going viral. For the most part, it's completely fine and entertaining. It starts becoming a problem when true content become hindered by other viral things. Some people may downplay this by claiming good content has to result in some kind of attention, and if it hasn't reached a million views, well, it isn't good content. When we look at how viral things are spread, we come to realize that we've become so accustomed to only sharing things that hold similar interests to our peers. It's easier for a song to become a hit because music is universal. For something like KONY 2012, it plays a different scenario. Although we might not know the background to the premise of the video, practically everyone who watches it, at least without knowledge of the true situation, comes to the same conclusion: Joseph Kony is a terrible person and needs to be stopped. And that's why we can share the KONY 2012 video! It's such a shared belief that, though one can argue and debate against the film, the typical American would hit the "like" button on your video link and call it a day. Little danger is involved with sharing something that's so commonly believed in ideology.

What this has done is put a lull on the things we receive from the internet. Most of it is bland reworks of similar stories. For the hardworking individual who has truly created worthwhile material, going viral is a slap in the face. With such a surplus of knowledge available to everyone with access to the internet, it's hard to filter out the good from the bad. Unfortunately, some of the things going viral simply do not deserve out undivided attention. There should and needs to be a way for true content delivery, whether it be in the form of a trending topic on Twitter or a widely reblogged post on Tumblr. Making that happen is difficult and a near impossible task. Until people realize that viral things aren't all that special, the process will repeat over and over again.

For a country that prides itself in the claim that success stems from effort, it sure seems that getting a retweet from Justin Bieber is a better goal than concentrating on perfecting an expertise.

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