BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti breaks down how a 30-minute video about a Ugandan war criminal became a social media phenomenon. The following quotes are from an interview Peretti did with The Guardian .
1. It's Not A Bummer
"There has been a long tradition of people who've tried to make videos go viral around important political issues, particularly human rights atrocities. They've come to me asking for advice. They usually have videos that use a lot of pictures of kids dying, kids starving – horrific things that they want people to see. They think that if people just saw, they would share it – they would be outraged and share it.
These types of videos almost never go viral, or they very, very rarely do. That's because it's a bummer to send something like that to all your friends. Even if you are moved by the issue.
So one of the things that's remarkable about the Kony video is that the underlying cause is about children being killed, these atrocities. Not the best starting point in terms of pure virality. It's an important cause that matters, but it's not the easiest to make spread.
The Kony video starts out not with the gruesome issue, but the fact that we're all connected to each other. There are cute kids. There's the moment of childbirth, which as anyone who's had kids understands is one of the most moving experiences that someone can have."
2. Emotions Over Facts
"One key, I think, of how they were able to do this is that the currency of sharing on the web is emotion. People tend to share things that move them emotionally. Facts and figures don't always help, but making people feel something is really important to getting them to share.
They kind of prime the viewer with profoundly emotional content, and the idea of how we're all connected."