The BIG Idea File: Viral Humor – Why Funny Goes the Distance Online
Ever find something so funny you just HAD to share?
In the good old days, you’d call your spouse in from the other room, giggling and pointing, “You have GOT to see this!” Or you’d annoy all your friends and family by forwarding the hilarious email of the day (thank goodness that trend is over).
Today with social media, the same thing happens, only instead of spouses (or whoever happens to be in the room) or unwitting email recipients, people share with their Facebook friends, Twitter followers, LinkedIn connections, blog readers, Flickr viewers and so on.
What do they share? What goes viral and spreads across the socialsphere like wildfire? Funny…hands down (yes, touching, useful, interesting, newsy information is also being shared, but not to the same extent as humor).
Why Videos of Talking Dogs are Interesting
Watching this video isn’t going to make you smarter, expand your worldview or even give you insight into dogs. So why has it been viewed over 61,952,376 times? Because it’s funny. Plain and simple.
Social media is the reason for its success. I first saw it in my Facebook news feed, complete with a comment after comment of something to the effect of “LOL”. So I shared it. Then a few months later, it popped up again and once again, I shared it.
Now imagine the ripple effect of friends and followers who shared it with their circles and so on and so on. It’s easy to see how a one-minute video with absolutely no informational value garnered so much attention.
The Reason Why Funny Goes the Distance Online
#1: Universal – Not everyone can agree on the news, politics, religion or even whether or not you should trick your kids into eating vegetables by hiding them in food, but everyone enjoys a good laugh! Humor is the universal connector.
#2: Shareable – In an age where even the most benign topics can be politically charged and the cause of much debate, humor is something you don’t need to worry about sharing (unless that humor falls into the politically incorrect category).
#3: User-Friendly – Let’s face it – funny is easy to digest. It’s not like you are asking your overloaded brain to take an afternoon break and read Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.
#4: Necessary – We all need a little bit of lightness in our lives. That’s perhaps reason people tend to share the funny over the shocking or depressing. No one needs another piece of bad news.