We Need A New Word For When Something Spreads On The Internet

Doesn't it feel wrong to use the phrase
We Need A New Word For When Something Spreads On The Internet

The phrase "going viral" is ubiquitous within Internet culture. It's the perfect pairing of words to describe exactly what it means - to spread widely and quickly on the Internet. Just as one person sneezing into the air can then infect two people who go on to infect two more people and so on, so too can one person sharing this video of a beluga whale playing fetch then spread it to the world.

But in light of our recent times, isn't there something about the phrase "going viral" that hits a bit oddly when referring to something as silly as a trending animal video? It's like if hitting a home run in baseball was called a "grandma's dead." It just wouldn't feel polite to watch Aaron Judge take at-bats during family reunions.

I set about to find a new phrase to describe a fast-spreading piece of content on the Internet, and here's the best I could come up with: "Log." Yep, "log" as in "logarithmic" as in "don't upload that video of me failing at benchpress or it'll go log."

Don't get me wrong; I realize it sounds funny at first, like when you're trying out slang from another country. For example, in the UK they say "telly" when talking about the TV, or "chazzing me Tatums" when they watch a Channing Tatum movie.

Will this catch on? Probably not. Are we going to change our "viral counter" on the site to accommodate it? Also, probably not. But I like "going log." It's short, punchy, and it describes mathematically exactly how both a virus and an internet video will grow in reach. Plus, who knows, maybe if it does gain some traction, people will start to more intuitively understand why it's so damn important to stay inside during the early stages of a pandemic.

Total Coronavirus Cases in the United States linear logarithmic Total Cases (Linear scale) 4k 3k Cases 2k COTOL lk Total 1 12 9 2 25 02 04 06 08 10 12
Imagine this is tracking views of pandas kissing and suddenly it all makes sense.

Or maybe people will just think it has something to do with fallen trees. Either way, it doesn't hurt to add some diversity to the lexicon a little bit, so if you can do better than "log," I'm open to it.

Dan is on Twitter @realdanduddy, and hosts The Bachelor Zone Podcast, where you can hear him give a sports-style breakdown of all things happening on The Bachelor.

Top Image: Engin_Akyurt/Pixabay


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