Going viral and other virtual validations

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“Woah! She got like 200 likes on that photo.”

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Most of us like praise. We like knowing that what we are doing, is getting some positive attention. This has taken on a new meaning in this age of facebook, tumblr, twitter and all that jazz.

I had resisted the need to measure my significance through the eyes of any of the millions of people tapping away on keyboards all over the world. But I too became entrenched in this fascinatingly paradoxical world, where going viral is a boon and a virus is, as usual a buzzkill.

I had recently written an article for the company I work with, Cucumbertown, which achieved some level of popularity, thanks to the brilliant illustrations that accompanied my rather shoddy writing.

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In the course of marketing this material, I discovered the addictive nature of the virtual pat on the shoulder. Every share on Facebook made my face glow, and despite battling a terrible bout of viral infection, fever and asthma, I glowed like never before.

Now every time I put up a new photo on facebook or create a tweet or upload a new post on my blog, I have a certainly unhealthy obsession with the likes, retweets and view counts on these respective social networking tools.

In case you thinking I’m not happy from this turn of events, you are right. I loathe my susceptibility to the virulence of online love and hate. But it has opened my eyes to the the base human need for acceptance and validation.

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It is because we feel the need to weigh our merits through the % of likes, shares and views that things like cyber bullying have become commonplace.

But there’s no denying that this era of virality is here to stay. Look at the number of online based startups in India alone. The number is staggering. So in that sense we should embrace this virtual virulence as a blessing.

The ever pervading mob mentality of course persists, with people blindly clicking on links, just because a sizeable part of the online population has.

But it takes a certain level of expertise to understand how to create material that inspires this initial surge of sharing and viewing. And I shall soon share my insights on the same. Its still early days for me in this world.

 

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