Now that 2019 is wrapped up, was this the sensational phenomenon of the decade?
If you clicked on that link, and if you’re a 90s kid, you know what you got into: you got Rickrolled. And just like you, we’re no strangers to love. . . you know the rules, and so do I . . .
Rickrolling: The Internet Phenomenon of the Decade
As the decade comes to an end, there are several memorable viral social media incidents to look fondly back on—from the infamous John Cena prank vines to everything that PSY Oppa-loaded on YouTube. None, however, come anywhere close to the rolling phenomenon that brought a now-forgotten 80’s star back to life—and back to fame.
When Rick Astley released his cheesy pop song in 1987, he could never have guessed that it would be in the first two decades of the 21st century when the world would finally catch up. It started with an embedded link people would forward—to friends, family, colleagues, anyone.
The link would be disguised as some generic cute cat video or something else—we’re probably looking at now-ancient clickbait techniques here. And once the person clicked on the link, they’d be directed to a video of Rick Astley in his infamous trench coat, telling the viewer that he was never going to give them up.
The viewer would thus be Rickrolled. And the social media video would go viral.
Okay, But Why Was it Such a Phenomenon?
These days, when something goes viral, it’s either because it’s controversial (like the President’s typo tweets) or because it has actual meaning (like Greta Thunberg’s now-iconic photo). Rick Astley’s 80s music video was neither. It was just. . . a catchy, cheesy song.
That became a meme.
People using the internet (today, that’s like 4.48 billion people, probably even more) thought it was funny, and shared, and shared, and shared. And that’s exactly how social media works.
How Can You Go Viral on Social Media?
For people following the Rickrolling phenomenon, we all know that a star was reborn. Suddenly, Rick Astley was appearing in talk shows, news shows, concerts, getting awards, and was now just a household name. He was—and is—an online legend.
So can you—and how can you—do the same?
Well, for starters, it’s tough being as cute as Rick Astley, so we can rule that out. Of course, we can never really predict what the internet will find funny—in Rick’s case, 30 years later. But that doesn’t mean you’re out of options. Here’s a small guide that could prove very effective if done right:
- Chalk out your target audience.
- Choose the right social media platform—Generation Z prefers TikTok, for example, whereas Millennials prefer Instagram.
- Go for high-engagement content for greater reach.
- Be very careful about the time for the content’s release. Optimum visibility is crucial.
- Don’t be shy about using advertising to give your post a boost.
- Do some research on similar campaigns in the past.
- Collaborate with social media influencers.
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