Let’s get some definitional housekeeping out of the way: There is no pageviews threshold for what a piece of #content needs in order to, as they say, “go viral.” It’s a moving target that shifts from person-to-person, organization-to-organization, on a monthly, even daily, basis. If you normally have 2,000 daily readers, then you get 20,000, that’s viral. If you’re the New York Times and you get 20,000, something has gone horribly wrong. Pageviews matter, but relativity matters more.
The speed at which the audience is accumulated is also important: The phrase “going viral” is obviously linked to the rapid spread of a disease. Someone posts a link to the right forum that galvanizes a group of fellow posters to do the same, and so the spread begins. It’s uncontrollable, unpredictable, uncontainable, untrackable. It’s a goddamned outbreak.
It’s also an incredible rush for any content creator—I’m not using it as a pejorative here, so much as a short-cut for “all posts, videos, articles, GIFs, Vines, Tweets, what have you”—when social media and pageview counts are skyrocketing. What does the rush feel like? And what are some of its ramifications?