The internet is continuously responding to this by, for example, adding a share button to everything we read. But what makes us sometimes press that button and sometimes not? And what makes so many people press that button at the same time, with the result that the content goes viral? Why are articles shared? Ryan Holiday answers the above questions on the basis of his research results. He analyzed hundreds of articles that have recently gone viral to find a connection. The book Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday (2014) is a popular book in the world of growth hacking.
The reason I chose his results is because his research into viral content is the precursor to further research. There are new insights about viral content, but often in the form of opinion pieces and not studies. That is why I like to take this somewhat older book as a starting point. First, Holiday looked at the topics of the articles. It turned out that Fax List articles about education, health and science were shared more often than articles about sports and politics. But why? Is that really the subject? One thing we know for sure: people share things because they are interesting or useful. The research showed that more interesting articles 25%, and useful articles 30% (such as education, health and science), are more likely to be shared.
Also read: This is what you need to know to make viral videos [research] Why is that so? It turns out that these kinds of articles often describe innovations and discoveries that evoke a specific emotion in readers. That emotion is called ' awe ', the Dutch translation is 'awe'. The role of emotions Could it be that other emotions have the same effect? There are reasons to believe that experiencing an emotion, any emotion, might encourage people to share certain content.