The Dirty Secret Behind Viral Social Media Trends
From the daisy-chain messages on Snapchat to the challenges that fill up our newsfeeds on Instagram, viral social media trends are a part of our lives now. But what do we really know about the dirty secret behind these trends? Every once in a while, a truth is revealed that leaves us shocked – what’s really going on behind the scenes? This article will uncover the hidden truth that lies in the shadows of the latest social media fad.
1. What Do Viral Social Media Trends Indicate?
Behind every viral trend on social media platforms lies a dirty secret that few people talk about or are aware of. Though viral social media trends can have a positive effect on society, they are often manipulated and driven by entities that wish to further their own agendas. Here are some of the dirty secrets behind viral social media trends:
- Influencers can be paid to promote certain trends. Often, individuals or businesses pay large sums of money to influencers to create digital content featuring and promoting certain trends. This increases the trend’s visibility and likelihood of going viral.
- Organized campaigns can be used to push certain trends. Special task forces created to promote products, services, and trends have become common. These tasks forces are usually made up of highly connected individuals, who can use their respective networks to push a viral trend.
- Social media algorithms can prioritize certain trends. Social media algorithms, such as those used by Facebook and YouTube, can favor certain trends over others. This can lead to certain trends becoming vastly more visible than others, resulting in an artificial increase in popularity.
- Data can be used to manipulate trends. Big data and analytics technology can be used to tailor digital content to users. This enables certain trends to be presented in a way that increases user engagement, driving the trend’s popularity.
These are just a few of the dirty secrets behind viral social media trends. The truth is, most trends are driven by powerful entities seeking to further their own agendas. Being aware of this, and understanding the mechanisms behind viral trends, is essential if we are to remain informed customers on the digital marketplace.
2. What Are the Challenges Faced by Social Media Influencers?
At first glance, social media influencers lead a glamorous life, with their content racking up followers, likes, and shares. But behind this glamorous life lie a few dirty secrets. Here are just a few of the challenges social media influencers face on a daily basis.
- Misplaced Criticism: Social media influencers are not immune from the risque feedback that accompanies posted content. Whether posting about a company or their personal views, social media influencers can easily become targets of criticism, especially when the content is controversial. This can be damaging, both emotionally and reputationally.
- Lack of Support: While success may appear to come easily, there is usually an immense amount of hard work behind any successful post. Unfortunately, many social media influencers feel their efforts and hard work go unrecognized and often misunderstood.
- No Control Over Viral Content: A social media influencer may post something, only to find it used completely out of context and blown up beyond what the original intent was due to the randomness of the algorithms. This can be damaging to the brand’s reputation and be a difficult market to monitor.
- Imposter Account Negativity: It’s unfortunately common for social media influencers to find themselves the target of imposter accounts. These accounts are usually created to spread negativity or proclaim slanderous posts from untraceable sources. This can have disastrous effects on any influencer’s online presence.
- Saturation: With more and more people trying to become successful social media influencers, saturation can end up being a huge issue. Not only is the competition fierce and difficult to surpass, but with the demand for quality content always high, influencers can feel inundated and pressured.
These are some of the common difficulties faced by social media influencers, reminding us that what we see online isn’t always an accurate representation of what’s happening behind the scenes.
3. How Is Societal Pressure Impacting Viral Trends?
Unbelievable Results: Societal pressures are one of the biggest driving forces behind viral social media trends. It’s a dirty secret that often gets overlooked, but the reality is that there’s a heavy influence on social expectations. People are constantly trying to keep up with the latest trends, whether it’s keeping up with fashion, popular music, or what is happening with social media.
The Pressure to Follow: With social media, it’s not uncommon to see people engaging in and following trends and fads because they care about their appearance to others. It can be difficult to defy the norms and stand out in a crowd, as there is often a fear of judgment or backlash. People may fear being left out, so they may follow viral trends in order to avoid such consequences.
The Pressure to Compete: Another aspect of societal pressure is the need to compete and be on the same level as others. Whether it’s having the latest gadgets, clothes, hairstyle, or a certain number of likes on a post, people often feel the need to have the same things as others to fit in. This leads to people creating posts that spark the same trends in order to compete with one another.
The Pressure to Put on a Face: Finally, the pressure to put on a face when engaging with others creates an environment ripe for viral trends to take hold. People often feel pressured to show a certain level of success, happiness, or stability when interacting with other people on social media platforms. Such pressure often leads to an overinflated sense of pride and attachment to certain trends.
- Societal pressure is a driving factor behind viral trends.
- People may fear being left out and follow viral trends.
- There is a need to compete and be on the same level as others.
- People are often pressured to put on a face when engaging with others.
It’s clear that societal pressure plays an enormous role in the generation of viral trends. Although the concept of “fitting in” is an important part of any society, it’s important to remember that we should all strive for individuality and expression of our own thoughts, instead of blindly following whatever is trending at the moment.
4. Exploiting the Algorithms to Create Viral Posts
- In today’s ever-evolving digital world, the key to successful social media marketing lies in understanding how algorithms work.
- Exploiting algorithms to reach target audiences on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and other social media networks can be a tricky but highly rewarding task.
- The dark, often overlooked truth is that many of the viral posts you see online are the result of savvy social media marketers understanding and taking advantage of the algorithms.
- By leveraging the power of AI and machine learning, savvy marketers can analyze social media activity in real-time and identify patterns that may be exploited to create viral posts.
- Using analytics tools, marketers can measure post performance and adapt their content strategies on the fly, ensuring their posts reach the most engagement and impact.
- Armed with an understanding of the algorithms and analytics, marketers can identify trends, boost engagement and create viral content that resonates with their target audiences.
- In the end, understanding and exploiting algorithms in a responsible and measurable way can be a very effective way of creating viral content.
5. The Threat of Fake Trends
Social media is a powerful tool for the quick spread of popular ideas and trends, but this comes with a certain caveat: the prevalence of counterfeit trends. When a trend appears to garner traction, opportunities for profiteering can quickly arise. The result? A market for manufactured trends, often backed by big money ad budgets and digital trickery.
This plays out in a variety of different ways — here are just a few:
- Fraudulent Advertising: Fake trends can take shape in the form of large-scale advertising campaigns, their ultimate aim to create a false impression of public demand. Promoting a non-existent trend to the masses can provide a quick boost to the bottom line.
- Musical Chairs: The sharing of links, opinions and other content between rival websites – known as ‘musical chairs’ – helps to create the illusion of popularity and prevalence. Such activity may seem innocuous enough, but it can be used to manipulate public opinion.
- Content tumbling: A form of link manipulation that consists of rearranging old content, or typed and transcribed articles in various iterations. This serves an important purpose in maintaining the energy of those trends artificially-propelled by large ad budgets.
- Fabrication: Creating content and posting it under the guise of a verified, unbiased source is a method used to legitimize spurious claims. It can also act to strengthen a particular agenda, or, in some cases, even exacerbate public divisions.
It has become painfully apparent that the prevalence of false trends on social media is not only damaging to public perception, but eroding our trust in the industry. As such, it’s essential we investigate techniques used to engineer trends and alternatives to monitoring false signals, in order to get a truer understanding of public opinion.
6. What Are the Ethical Implications?
When social media trends become viral, it’s often assumed that it is just harmless fun. After all, it’s usually all in good spirits, providing light-hearted entertainment and humor. However, one thing often overlooked is the ethical implications that go hand-in-hand with viral social media trends. Here are some points to consider:
- Exploitation of Music Artists: With the popularity of video sharing platforms such as TikTok, many artists now face the difficult choice of either allowing their art to be used without proper credit or compensation or risking losing out on potential revenue.
- Celebrity Stripping: Influencers, celebrities, or anyone with a large online presence can quickly become the victim of viral social media trends. While this was once a harmless way to poke fun, these days it often comes with an undercurrent of malicious trolling and can have serious consequences on the subject’s mental health.
- Slavery to Social Media: In an increasingly competitive digital landscape, people everywhere are chasing after likes and followers in a bid to succeed at any cost. This often leads to an unwholesome trend of people actively faking their interests or lifestyles in order to fit in with perceived trends. Not only does this lead to inauthenticity, but it can put undue pressure on people to become something they’re not.
When using social media, we must remember to be mindful of the ethical implications that come with it, or risk not just harming ourselves, but those around us too.
7. How Can Viral Social Media Trends Be Managed Responsibly?
Most of us are familiar with viral social media trends, having seen certain funny videos, quotes, or GIFs shared among our circles of friends. But there is a darker side to these trends, which often goes unnoticed: their manipulative nature.
The most straightforward way in which viral social media trends can be manipulated is through an individual’s monetary incentives. Such incentives often come in the form of payouts from media companies and corporations, who ask the individual to create viral trends in exchange for money.
More insidious methods involve psychological manipulation. For example, social media algorithms often present different content to different users, making it difficult for users to evaluate the accuracy or legitimacy of the given content. Furthermore, content creators can use subtle psychological cues to inspire feelings of FOMO (fear of missing out) or a sense of urgency that encourages users to share the content more frequently.
Managing Trends Responsibly
The good news is that these trends can be managed responsibly by keeping the following tips in mind:
- Be cautious of payouts and incentives offered for creating trends.
- Research the legitimacy of content before sharing it.
- Think critically about the purpose of the content and how it affects others.
- Pay attention to the patterns of sharing content and how it encourages engagement.
By taking a mindful approach to managing viral social media trends, individuals can ensure that their engagement is beneficial to themselves and to the people around them. It doesn’t take a genius to trace the cause and effect between these viral social media trends and the celebrities and corporations who benefit from them. The question is, what are we going to do about it? We must come together to fight for a more equitable and transparent online experience that will moderate the influence of big money and put power back into the hands of everyday people.