I got another scent of going viral on social media. And I'm loving every bit of it.

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I can't believe how much has happened since I first wrote about going viral on social media. I also can't believe what I wrote then, talking mostly about how virality has the most to do with luck. Well, it does, but any proper RPG character can fully understand luck can be influenced one way or another. As you evolve as a blogger, you learn a lot about writing good headlines, best times to publish, using various platforms to promote content and other general best practices, all adding a bit to the chance of going big. Of course, you're still competing in your own league, but a few hundred posts more, and you might do something extraordinary like swizec did. Get noticed and amplified by a heavy influencer.

The situation

Here's my situation - the full overview of traffic on this blog since it's beginning, according to Google Analytics. Spikes, which happen when something goes viral, all over the place. At this point, I'm almost at 100 posts, and around 10 are worth mentioning, making it on a single or more platforms. The list almost fully corresponds with my internal top list, and you can click on any of them if you would like to what they're about. Quite various, actually.

Viral Content Traffic Google Analytics Arthur C. Clarke envisioning the World Wide Web in 1968 Facebook vs. Twitter - Part 1: The battleground Apple has enough money to buy Slovenia's entire yearly production I've developed a magazine based on my Delicious bookmarks. And a Twitter bot. Can you believe Watson got the question about Slovenia wrong on Jeopardy? Crazy about beer? Visit Brussels. Is Dexter and its social game Slice of Life the future of TV shows (but no one noticed)? Supporting events on Twitter: how Pop TV and Soočenje owned the Slovenian Twitterverse Did Google just admit Apple's Siri is the future of search?

Traffic overview and the most visited contents on stritar.net

The winners

While the above chart may show those posts that got the most traffic, only a few of them are the real winners. Interaction and impact is what counts. Feedback from the people. My first real viral post about Facebook vs. Twitter got 100+ retweets, while newer ones managed to unlock a few other interesting achievements. The one about Apple and Slovenia ended by people tweeting about how Apple will buy Slovenia since there was a mysterious announcement on their homepage (which turned out to be The Beatles in the iTunes store). The post about Beer in Brussels produced more than 80 funny comments on reddit. Discussing about Pop TV and events on Twitter established an arrangement between the Slovenian soccer association, the established sports journalist Igor E. Bergant and the leading Slovenian soccer portal Nogomania to cover the next national soccer match on Twitter together (we'll see on February 29th). Fantastic turns of events.

The platforms

There is no viral without the platform. While Facebook may have been the biggest referrer of traffic in this blog's history, it's a stable referrer, which can hardly make something viral. Twitter is better, since the whole concept behind retweeting can amplify you outside your social circle, even though it's much harder to master. But the platforms really worth mentioning are the community based curation / recommendation engines: Reddit, StumbleUpon and Hacker News. They are much more complex to use, since you have to be a part of the community one way or another, but that's how it works - there is no taking without giving.


Viral Content Referrers Google Analytics

Top referrers for stritar.net. Twitter referrals are included in Twitter and t.co.

The downside: publishing to all these channels and the aftercare (commenting, animating) can take quite some time, but you're nothing without it.

Conclusion

If you have good content, going viral can be managed and influenced, and it happens when the parameters align. Since you have to have as many chances for that to happen, you need to blog as much as you can. That's the real recipe, if there is any. For permanent readers, for real supporters that can help you tip the scale, for additional lottery tickets.

But why go through all this trouble? Well, imagine getting 100 likes and comments on a Facebook post. Or 20 retweets of a really witty tweet you're so proud of. Multiply that by 10, and you'll get the picture of how it feels when you go viral. That's why you blog in the first place, you only don't know it.

Like what you read? Now tell the world!

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written 22.1.2012 20:58 CET on chronolog
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