Viral content: Putting the wrong people in positions of power since the dawn of the internet.
At least, that's how Ze Frank, president of BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, sees it. And he should know. He was a one-man viral powerhouse before most people even knew what it was to "go viral." Once upon a time, he was teaching people how to "dance properly." These days, he's working with a team of dozens of creative content producers to better understand the science -- if you can call it that -- behind virality.
In a fireside chat with NewCo co-founder John Battelle at the VIP kickoff reception for NewCo LA, Frank noted that many discussions of virality -- and the continuing debate around whether it’s a phenomenon that can truly be harnessed -- tend to overcomplicate things. Rather, it comes down to understanding the basic unit of virality: when one person shares something with another person. At BuzzFeed, that's the focus. Why do people share something, and what do they say when they share it? Understand that, and you understand virality.
That said, oversimplifying the notion of viral content presents its own dangers. And it's a moving target, to be sure. A few years back, "media... Read more