The science and psychology of why videos go viral

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The videos and memes you keep seeing on your feeds aren’t an accident. There are actually six principles that drive virality.

Ever since Malcolm Gladwell’s “Tipping Point,” psychologists have been trying to get to the bottom of what makes something “go viral.” But according to Wharton marketing professor Jonah Berger, the mnemonic, “STEPPS,” holds the answers.

Here’s the breakdown:

Social Currency

We post and share content on social media to be perceived by others in a certain way. Because we care so much about what people think of us, it affects our online behavior. So to seem like a cool kid or “in the know,” we share popular content (otherwise known as memes) and often put our own twists on it.


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