The Formula For Going Viral
The internet is a very powerful medium, and it has helped many businesses increase sales and turn some small businesses into household names thanks to clever viral marketing campaigns. However, the internet can also be dangerous and cost consumer’s money due to practical jokes.
A lot of people with a sense of humor with some saying a sick sense of humor, use the internet to play tricks on people, some of them are funny but some cost consumers tens of thousands of pounds.
Over the years the internet has been used to spread false stories about celebrities being dead, with the power of the internet the false stories quickly spread to where even relatives and friends start to believe them. However, one of the most frequent victims of false stories that quickly go viral is Apple and their iPhone.
One story that resulted in thousands of angry Apple iPhone users destroying their phone thanks to a fake story that went viral was a story that stated if you put an iPhone in a microwave for just one minute it would fully charge the battery. Although it sounds stupid, and you would have thought no one would listen to the hoax, thousands of people believed it and damaged their phone.
If someone in a pub or at work said put your iPhone in a microwave, and it will charge faster than a normal charger, then people would not believe them. With the internet being a powerful medium and allowing the story to go viral, the story starts to become believable.
The people behind the fake story used different social mediums to get the story out there. Within hours of the story hitting social networks, and thanks to some respectable online news sites believing the story and reporting it, the fake story became credible. Once news websites reported the story, it started to hit other websites through their news feeds resulting in the story expanding faster than out of control diseases.
To add fuel to the fake story, the people behind it posted using false id's on social networks, saying they had put their phone in a microwave and were shocked it worked.
Within one day of the story hitting the internet, it was eventually reported that thousands of people put their iPhone in a microwave that resulted in people having to buy new phones. Although no official report on the amount of money that was lost, it was reported in a newspaper that the stunt cost consumers tens of thousands of dollars.
It is not the only time iPhone have been hit by fake stories. Thanks to Twitter, Buzz feed and other social mediums including Facebook, Apple have been hit a few times. The last one was when it was reported that the new iPhone was waterproof, and people were encouraged to put their brand new phone in a bucket of water to try it out. Sadly, because the story went viral, and it was made believable and again with some news sites reporting the story that made it believable, again people tried to put their phone in a bucket of water to see if the stories were true.
The internet has become a very powerful platform, and that is why professional marketers use it as part of their marketing campaign and spend a great deal of time and money to make the product or service they are promoting go viral, to increase sales quickly.
Recently, a video game news website conducted an experiment on how fake news, despite how nonsensical they are, can go viral in matter of hours.
The setup was simple: They announced that a very popular game currently under development had been cancelled.
According to Michael Villes, an author of the website and creator of the hoax, in a matter of 45 minutes the website was flooded with new visitors from all over the world. He also stated that the hoax had even spread to smaller gaming websites and forums, which the content is moderated.
After one hour, the hoax had more than 5.000 shares and tweets. “I never could imagine that our hoax would reach that proportion” stated Michael.
According to Michael, the formula was simple : “ I had a well written and convincing article and with the help of social networks, our hoax got viral in matter of minutes. This also shows how people tend to share or spread the word without even searching if it’s true or not.”