Going viral

Going viral describes a video, picture, gif or piece of information that spreads over the internet quickly through the use of social media and email. The term going viral was coined around the year 2000, probably related to the term viral marketing which was coined in the 1990s, which in turn was probably based on the way biological viruses spread through a population in a rapid manner. Why something goes viral is something of a mystery, but it is usually a video, picture, gif or piece of information that is relatable, simple, makes the viewer feel something, and often, is humorous. Related terms are go viral, goes viral, gone viral, went viral.


One such video of a cute little girl and a boy showing them kissing each other and then bursting in laughter is going viral. (The Daily Bhaskar)

David Cameron is looked up to by people across the world, and this old photo of the PM is going viral for similar reasons. (The Indian Express)

These hilarious Swedes shunned banking careers to try to make it in Bollywood – now they’re going viral (The Business Insider)

A WA man who wrote his ‘future drunk self’ a note to drink water and eat chicken wings in an attempt to avoid a hangover has unexpectedly gained international media attention after the letter went viral. (The Sydney Morning Herald)

A Topeka woman hopes that a small gesture supporting law enforcement officers will go viral (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Rapping grandma is delighted to have gone viral on Twitter (The Telegraph)

This bikini photo has gone viral for all the wrong reasons… thanks to an unfortunate optical illusion (The Sun)

An inventive photo of a ‘bald’ Brockton teenager went viral when it hit social media, reaching more than 70,000 on Twitter alone. (The Taunton Daily Gazette)

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