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Is it Viral? A Guide to Infecting the Web

Last week’s big hoax from the Chive with the hot girl quitting via whiteboard got a lot of people talking. Is it a meme? Is it viral content? Is it lame? Is it the most hilarious thing since Archie Bunker hated Jews and Blacks equally? Hard to say. But what isn’t hard to say is cat. And on an unrelated note, that hoax got us thinking about what makes online content blow up.

Holy Taco is no stranger to popular content, just look in our little Digg widget, people who don’t comment here actually like our stuff. But why this article and not that? Why does one infographic go huge and another fall flat on its stupid face? And can we take what we know of the internet and craft a recipe for the ultimate awesome post that must go viral or cause the very destruction of the internet itself? Kids, sit down for this – yes. Yes we can. Put on your chef hat, we’re brewing up awesome!

What You’ll Need:

holy taco 1 Website. For the sake of argument, we’ll use Holy Taco. Yay!

cat• A cat. Is it hilarious? Make it that way. Popular hilarious cat-accessories include monorails, length and invisible butt sex.

girl• A hot girl. History teaches us girls make the internet work in much the way stout Germans make butter churns work. I can’t say for sure if that sentence made much sense, but don’t get bogged down in that. Instead, focus on cleavage. We don’t want porn here, porn never goes viral. Cleavage, or tight fitting shirts, do.

remix• Remix an audio clip. It should have been unintentionally hilarious at first. Now you must beat it into submission. Only he first remix will be popular, the rest will suck like the Thai tourism bureau. Was that a ladyboy joke? No time to answer!

tony danza• Kitsch. Man, could you use some kitsch. Like maybe a one hit wonder from the 80s, or a goofy old commercial that mistakes sexism for family values.

tila tequila• Include a celebrity. A naked celebrity will work best, but a celebrity being cheated on, gaining weight, being attacked by Juggalos or losing their mind might be helpful, too.

list• Lists. List anything. The internet loves lists because they’re easy to read. Stupid people will mistake themselves for smart and criticize the list format as repetitive or derivative, not understanding that the insane mass appeal of lists is that people can read them on the go without losing their place or committing time they don’t have to it.

bob ross• Picture it. Words are fun and all but man, there’s so many of them. Have you ever seen an infographic? Of course you have, they’re everywhere. They take what would be a 500 word article and add rudimentary images to convince you learning is fun. Do that.

bike• Snag the Everyman. Do you have pictures of people looking goofy or awkward? Misspelled signage? Too many foreigners on a bicycle? This is all gold.


You can’t just put all that shit in one post and expect it to be viral. If that worked, this would be viral, and we’re going to assume right now that it isn’t. If you’re quite the photoshop quizzling, you could try to make it a single image and see what happens. Who knows it might pay off.

viral picture

Is this picture the greatest thing on the internet now? Probably. But it’s not enough. You’re missing one important part – novelty.

Each viral thing on the internet only goes viral once. Are you pranking your friends with unexpected Chesney Hawkes videos? F*ck no! No one gets Chesney Rolled. Do you care to see pictures of sad Larry David? No. No sir. You only get one bite at that sexy viral apple. Is this contrary to the fact we just laid out a predictable formula? Yes. But quit being difficult.

Step 1: Take your predictable yet unique thing and dress it up in a fun way. Got 25 pictures of really messed up tattoos? Make sure Holy Taco didn’t publish it already, or just add 5 more pictures and become the champ. Basically you need a clincher of a title to make it all work. Based on our examples so far, you might want to go with something like “7 Things You Didn’t Know About the Most Incredibly Long and Sad Larissa Riquelme Bedroom Intruder Remix Engrish Gallery.” Somehow that title both make no sense and yet makes as much sense as the last 5 weeks of the internet combined.

Step 2: Get that thing seen. A site like The Chive can get things linked easily, they’re friends with Holy Taco. But what if your little turd cutter blog doesn’t have the kind of clout we do? No worries! Submit it to Digg, or maybe Buzzfeed, or Fark. What are the odds it won’t make front page, it’s the awesomest thing on the internet, remember?

Step 3: Profit: Oh man, sexy time is upon us. Sit back in your fapping chair and just occasionally refresh your browser window (are you using Internet Explorer? Don’t refresh, just turn off your computer because you’re using it wrong). You’ll see the Facebook likes and Diggs and other assorted social networking wanks coming in hand over fist.

Step 4: Wait for Repetition. Viruses spread like the legs of our mothers; they can’t be stopped. Viral content is the same. Here’s a fun post today, tomorrow it’s been cloned, remixed, adapted, ripped off and mashed up like nobody’s business. You know you’re successful when someone criticizes you for ripping off the thing they saw on another website that was actually ripping you off. In a pinch, accusing you of ripping off yourself from another site will work too.

3 Responses to "Is it Viral? A Guide to Infecting the Web"

  1. Sweden says says:

    he knows because the girl known as “Jenny” is really Elise Portfield an actress. You can look it up at theChive.com

  2. Ian Fortey says:
    It broke the next day. 
  3. Cracker says:

    How do you know for sure the white board chick was a hoax?