Scientists discover what makes something go viral online

What makes content go viral?In this story, we meet Neetzan Zimmerman, an editor for Gawker who has the enviable job of posting content that’s on the verge of going viral. His posts generate roughly 30 million pageviews a month.

To what does he attribute his success? Simply put, “he understands the emotions that might compel a human being to click on something online.”

Oh and here I was, thinking it was all about adorable CAT videos! Instead, it’s  about stirring up emotion (which cats can do, I suppose).

The story goes on to say that:

Articles, posts, or videos that evoke positive emotions have greater viral potential than something that evokes negative feelings, but both do a better job recruiting clicks than neutral content. The finer details tell a similar story: triggering high-arousal emotions, such as anger or humor, is a surer path to click gold than triggering low-arousal ones, such as contentment or sadness.

Maybe that sounds like common sense — and it probably is — but as a content creator, it’s worth hearing again.

And now science is proving it too: the potential for emotional arousal is key to a piece of content’s success online. Check out this article for more details.

[Cute cat picture from Shutterstock.]