4 Reasons 'Viral' Content Stopped Mattering in 2013

The word "viral" means very little nowadays. Everyone is clamoring to get their "content" front and center, but they're not very concerned about what that content contains. When there's a new music video of Miley Cyrus playing with her vagina's tongue through the sheets, every "content" site posts the same thing: the name of the video, a detailed paragraph stating that the video exists, and an embed of the video. And that's it. Check it out on BuzzFeed or Crushable or Hypable or Funbizzer or Yesclick or Roflshare or whatever fucking place.

I am legitimately surprised that no one has scooped up this domain yet.

Everyone tried so hard to go "viral" this year that the word barely has any meaning anymore. Virality didn't just jump the shark. It ate Henry Winkler, shit him into the underground oceans of Europa, and then did a kick-flip over the frozen turds. Going viral has looked into infinity, and it cannot return. Here is how and why ...

4. Everything Is Literally the Most Hyperbolic It Could Possibly Be

I want it first to be clear that I'm not talking about adjectives like "mind-blowing" or "terrifying" or "baffling." As prevalent as they are and as much as they may bug you, these words are helpful to readers. If there's an article called "5 Horrifying Truths About Being a Medical Doctor," the word "horrifying" tells you what kind of truths will be covered. Without that word, readers have no idea what to expect other than "something about doctors". Again, I get that "mind-blowing" and "horrifying" are used a lot on the Internet, but these words are not the problem.

I've got 99 problems and all of them are this.

There is a desperation to get clicks now, and it's apparent in the language used. It's not enough to post 14 hilarious interviews from Ellen in 2013. We have to post "14 Ellen Interviews From 2013 That Made Us Literally ROTFL." Next year, we'll be posting "The 14 Most Hilariously Funny Ellen Interviews That Made Us Laugh Until We Laughed Even Louder and We Never Stopped Laughing, Seriously, We're Still Laughing, Help Us, We Can't Even Eat Food." Hyperbole is helpful, but use it too much and it means nothing.

For the purposes of this article, I'll say I wouldn't mind scrolling through a list of old Saved by the Bell characters. However:

Things like this baffle (yes, "baffle") me, because it doesn't even sound like someone exaggerating in order to really hammer home how great this stuff is. When you're this hyperbolic, you move into sarcasm territory. I can't tell if you want me to think this article is worth reading, or if you want me to see that it's obviously a bullshit waste of my time and you didn't even want to write it in the first place.

The hyperbole gets worse when celebrities are involved. The time used to be that you could pick up an US Weekly or StarZone Power Magazine and you'd read about how celebrities are just like you. They go to the bread place at the block of stores just like you. They carry that bread in shopping carts as they walk out of those stores, just like you. Celebrities walk near stores.

S-Mez gets her armpits scrutinized via digital photograph enhancement just like you!

But on the Internet, that attitude is on the complete other end of the spectrum. On the Internet, celebrities aren't just like you, because they're more than amazing and you're worse than just fucking terrible.

Sorry, people with families, but you're not as cute as this family in particular. Because you don't have moments like this:

Yep, look at the cutest thing ever: kids sitting on their parents' laps! Holy shit adorbz I am squee-ing cum out of my emojis right now that's so fucking cute. Not like you and your shitty family, because you don't sit down at [some place] with your kids on your lap. You probably just lie down at home doing nothing while your kid deposits turds onto your lawn.

And wait... "When the fam was caught in this adorable moment just being cute together?" That's so vague I could have some kind of reaction to it. As proof that this family is cute, you're citing an "adorable moment just being cute together"? That could figuratively mean literally anything.

Like taking your kids to Disneyland:

Ignore the blurry families in the background. They're not cute, and they are not at Disneyland.

Or like:

Yes, exactly. Like the adorableness of reading out loud on a plane.

Oh, and by the way, you and your brother are actual garbage ...

And in 2013, Emma Watson had 28 flawless moments that were the most flawless of her many flawless moments, because apparently there are varying degrees of flawlessness.

Sure, this moment had no flaws, but this other moment had more no flaws.

Sometimes things get so hyperbolic that no one actually knows what their opinion is:

Please note that all of these are written by the same fucking person.

But one thing's for sure: In 2013, Jennifer Lawrence was the Master of the Universe.

And let's talk about Jennifer Lawrence real quick. Google "Jennifer Lawrence perfect (or 'flawless')" and you'll find tons of articles from the BuzzFeeds and Crushables and Popuclicks of the world. Now, I understand that she is The Internet's Sweetheart right now, deservedly so. She's extremely talented, beautiful, and honest and real. But here's the thing about Jennifer Lawrence in particular: She is not even close to flawless, and that's actually the entire fucking point.

Aside from all of her strengths, she's also awkward, clumsy, maybe not super bright, and she apparently shit her pants at least several times before the Catching Fire premiere. And she's also open and honest about it, which is great. People love her because of her flaws, because she's completely not perfect. Because she reminds us of our own shitty selves who maybe don't bother putting on pants some days. She admits that she thinks acting is actually kind of stupid (and so is she). Jennifer Lawrence is just a regular piece of shit like us who got into a car accident because she thought she saw Honey Boo-Boo. By lifting her up on a pedestal, you're defeating the message that her existence creates. You're ignoring the fact that she's "just like us," and you're ignoring how words work. No matter who you're talking about.

No, Beyonce's album did not redefine perfection. You did. You redefined it. Because ...

3. No One Knows How to Use Words Good

A popular trend over the past year or so is that people are always assuring me that something they tell me will restore my faith in humanity. I won't bother posting an example, because you absolutely know what I'm talking about, and we've done a few of them ourselves. There are also many people who assure me that they can destroy my faith in humanity. But actually ...

No matter what GIF you show me, no matter how many funeral selfies I see, my faith is unshakeable. That's the thing about faith. You have it even in the face of reason, and it is often strongest during times of darkness. If I have faith, despite being aware of humanity's shortcomings, my mind is certainly not going to be changed by this ...

... Partly because they're all works of fiction, but also because Oldboy was dope. If anything, this list would restore my faith in humanity, because look at what we're capable of: creating heart-wrenching, disturbing, thought-provoking films. That's pretty cool, humanity. Good job. Even though you don't always know how to do words great.

"Definitive" followed by "Might Possibly" (aka "Maybe Probs," aka "I Mean I Guess, I Don't Know, Yeah?"). Here we've used one of the most vaguely indecisive phrases coupled with one of the most aggressively decisive words. Why, Internet, are we using words in this way? Just call it "42 Armenian Stereotypes" and get it the fuck over with. It's like people don't know how to say what they may not even know they're trying to say.

Whether it's overabundantly adjectival, redundantly repetitive, or bizarrely and unnecessarily vague, talking this way makes you sound fucking stupid. I'm sorry, but this apology is sarcastic. I'm completely not sorry, because of things like ...

"The whole interview thing." Or, you know, "interviews." I can't tell if the person writing it is stupid, or if the person writing it just thinks we're all stupid.

Aaaand I still can't tell. I'll breeze through the part where I point out that it should be either "If you think ... you're wrong" or "If you thought ... you were wrong," and go straight to the part where this should have actually been called "If You Think Words and Images Haven't Been Used to Convey Complex Ideas for Thousands of Years, You're a Fucking Idiot and How Are You Even Reading This Right Now?"

When you post an article called "23 Problems Only Parents Will Understand", you really mean "23 Problems Parents Can Relate To," because I'm not a fucking two-year-old, and I easily understand how getting up at 6am to take your kid to soccer on a Saturday wouldn't be fun. Now, I know it seems like I'm nit-picking at this point, and you can think this entire article up to this point has basically just been one long Grammar Nazi rant, but I'm not correcting some dickhead's remark in a reblog of a Dr. Who GIF, or pointing out the errors in some Reddit comment thread. These are professional websites staffed by (I can only hope and assume) a lot of smart people. It's like no one even cares.

That's not made up. It's a real post. I've changed my mind. It's not like no one cares ...

Recommended For Your Pleasure

Cody Johnston

  • Rss

More by Cody Johnston:

See More
To turn on reply notifications, click here


The Cracked Podcast

Choosing to "Like" Cracked has no side effects, so what's the worst that could happen?

The Weekly Hit List

Sit back... Relax... We'll do all the work.
Get a weekly update on the best at Cracked. Subscribe now!