Is going viral worth it?


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The chase for 15 seconds of fame. 

Joseph Ferrer, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Whether we like it or not, everything that we see and post on social media is at the mercy of algorithms. It’s these same algorithms that determine whether or not our posts stay within an inner circle of our followers or reach hundreds of thousands of people across the internet. Nowadays, it’s possible for just about anyone to have a post become a viral hit, whether you’re a content creator who’s actively trying to get as many views as possible or someone that posted a TikTok that randomly gets over 24 thousand views overnight. With going viral being a near-constant cultural obsession among frequent social media users, is the end goal of getting that trending post truly worth it, and is it something that everyone should chase after?

The benefits of virality differ depending on not only the type of person you are but also what you’re looking to achieve with it. After all, having a post go viral of a trending meme is dramatically different from a widespread post that aims to have a positive outreach by promoting a social cause. So many people obsess over how to go viral by researching the latest trends and determining what content would do well on the algorithms that they often forget or don’t think about why they’re going for it in the first place. If you’re doing it solely for fame or attention, that motivation often doesn’t follow with the fulfillment that one may think it will bring. Virality when it does hit is simultaneously exhilarating and fleeting. The dopamine rush that comes alongside seeing a wave of likes, comments, and reposts in your notifications tab is a distinctly unique feeling but it never lasts forever. Oftentimes, that rush comes to a silent halt after just one day. If you’re trying to go viral simply for this feeling, the flash in the pan that comes from the 15 seconds of fame won’t leave you with much by the end of it.  


This isn’t to say that virality isn’t something worth striving for or entirely pointless because depending on the person, that’s far from the truth. For some, one viral post depending on the content can open doors that never would have been available to them otherwise. For people that want to promote themselves and their work whether they be an artist, video editor, musician or more, virality can help put eyes on them that could potentially lead to a big break. Virality can be an excellent tool for growth for those who want to put themselves and their work out there.  


People look to social media to accomplish a variety of different things and reaching that viral status is one of the many reasons users may spend hours upon hours on social media sites. Reaching for virality isn’t inherently an unfruitful endeavor that should be looked down upon and in some situations can lead to positive outcomes for both the one who makes the post and the users that it reaches. But the pursuit of it can be harmfully addicting and unfulfilling and desperately using social media as a tool for attention can be mentally and physically draining.