We’ve all heard how ‘Kolaveri di’ went viral. Or, some other video, song or post did.

An interesting question that arises from this commonly used phrase is, ‘What does it mean for something to go viral?’ The broad sense, in which this phrase is used, is meant to convey that there has been some kind of mass dissemination over the Internet. However, it gets a little more baffling once we try to question yet further as to how we would define mass dissemination.

So, is ‘going viral’ about the number of views certain content receives? 2 million views would probably undoubtedly be viral, but what about 5,000? What is that elusive number beyond which content can be said to have gone viral? Some social media experts, however, contend that it is not merely about number of impressions, but also involves a time-related aspect. For instance, a video on Youtube could have received 5 million views, over a time period of 5 years. On the other hand, another one may have got a similar number of likes in just about 2 months. The latter is obviously the one we would call viral. But the moment you step into grey area again and start asking if 1 million views in 10 months would qualify as viral or 150 views in 1 hour, there are no clear answers.

Content too, does not determine what goes viral. A moving picture of a young mother with her daughter could go viral. Alternately, something as senseless as Govind Tiwari’s blog could go viral. An entirely narcissistic webpage created by a young boy honing his HTML skills, this blog went ‘viral’ for a single day for no obvious reasons and was forgotten thereafter.

The phrase ‘to go viral’ then, is definitely an elusive one.

Do you have an opinion? Feel free to comment below with your valuable inputs.

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