How do you go Viral?

I’ve been thinking about how things go Viral a lot lately and it brought me think about the diamond complex. It was a couple years ago that I learned that diamonds aren’t very rare at all but they are viewed as very scare because De Beers monopolized the industry ever since World War II. The reason that these stones are viewed as so rare and remain in high demand is because the supply is well controlled and that drives up the price and the hype.

If the market became saturated with diamonds the diamond would no longer be rare or special. Everyone and their dog would be able to wear diamonds. But, De Beers realized this and controlled the output of diamonds making them harder to get while driving up the demand.

I associate this example with going viral online because when I think of popular memes and viral videos, pictures or stories I’m reminded at how quickly they pass. I think that’s because the appetite is completely satisfied, saturated even until we eventually become indifferent to what attracted us in the first place. But, if they were more controlled would it lead to more views on YouTube? If you could only access YouTube from 4-10pm would it increase the amount of visits?

Is strategic control the same as going viral? Or is it simply knowing what we want and how to supply us with it. Because we are human we sometimes forget about self-restraint and moderation, we could simply gorge ourselves with media until we can’t bear to watch anymore. However, when it comes in small doses it’s more desirable to be a part of it.

But how long can demand be strung out? For as long as we feel like a part of the in group when we view the viral video? Or as long as we feel like an outsider to the in group when they begin to talk about how funny, scary, or inspiring it was. It’s this feeling that compels us to watch the blasted video and become a part of the in group so we can converse, relate and add our two cents to the discussion.

Author: Anthony Baisi