How To Get People To Do Stuff #5: What makes things go viral?

Why do some ideas, articles, videos go viral and others don’t? Check out these ideas and the research in the video:

Here’s a summmary:

Things go viral if one or more of the following is true:

The piece elicits a strong emotional response — either positive or negative
The person who is doing the communicating is passionate and committed to the idea
If there is a compelling story around the idea
If it’s cute or funny (cats in hats, babies, puppies)
If by passing it on to your network it will make you look smart

What do you think? Do you agree with these ideas? With the research? What do you think makes something go viral?


J. Berger and and K. L. Milkman. 2012. “What makes online content viral?” Journal of Marketing Research, 49(2), 192–205. DOI: 10.1509/jmr.10.0353
Jennifer Aaker, The Dragonfly Effect

15 Questions To Ask Yourself When Evaluating A Photo
Top 10 Best Usability, and UX Books You Should Read
Posted in influence, persuasion Tagged with: , ,
One comment on “How To Get People To Do Stuff #5: What makes things go viral?
  1. Linda says:

    Maybe if you redo the visual part of the video with a cat on your shoulder and a dog next to you…

1 Pings/Trackbacks for "How To Get People To Do Stuff #5: What makes things go viral?"
  1. […] See more on her theory on her site. […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



  • RSS Feed for Posts
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn

Subscribe to The Brain Lady Newsletter

Get news and research on behavioral science, brain science, and design. The FREE newsletter is created by Susan Weinschenk, "The Brain Lady".

Listen To The HumanTech Podcast

Listen and/or subscribe to our HumanTech podcast.

Ask A Question

Please email if you have any questions or comments for us at the Team W. We will be happy to help you out!

Earn A UX Certificate

You can earn a User Experience Certificate online. Check out our UX Certificate "bundle".

Online Courses

The Team W has a full curriculum of online video courses, including courses that lead to a User Experience (UX) Certificate. Check out our courses and free reports at

Dr. Weinschenk’s Latest Book


Follow on Feedly

Contact Us

The Team W, Inc.
625 N. 4th Avenue
Edgar, WI 54426

Susan Weinschenk
Email Susan

Guthrie Weinschenk
Email Guthrie