We have discussed a lot in class about how to make media go viral and why people would want to share content. What we haven’t talked about much is how long popular media “lives” on the web. Knowing that media doesn’t last long on the online “hot seat” is probably common, but why doesn’t it and what does this mean for us as Internet users? As for what it means for Internet users, I think you could easily guess that we all have short attention spans and don’t care to wait on anything. Just take a look at the picture above. On the right image, there is even a side note that states that Twitter is a popular site for breaking news and for quick attention spans. The median lifespan on articles for both Facebook and Twitter is astonishing. The average lifespan isn’t even close to a week! One blog dives into particular detail about the longevity of the life of media on the web. Aside from the possibility that we as humans have drastically lost our ability to pay attention, Internet fame is extremely short lived.
Now to the real concern, why is it that media, even if it hits the Internet by storm and has everyone talking about it, die off so quickly? Of course, this issue ties back into the idea that we as humans have a short attention span on the web. It’s almost like we have a thirst when we go on the Internet that can’t be quenched so we continue looking for water, or more media in this case, anywhere we can. But why would every popular piece of media on the web look like a nice big drink to quench your thirst? Well, mostly because its passed all those special requirements to become viral. Some of those requirements include emotion and arousal. Maria Konnikova states in one of her articles, “Just how arousing each emotion was also made a difference. If an article made readers extremely angry or highly anxious—stories about a political scandal or new risk factor for cancer, for example—they became just as likely to share it as they would a feel-good story about a cuddly panda.” Viral media, as we now know is engineered to be popular and encourage viewers to share, but it seems people get quickly bored and throw out what they’ve seen for the next latest and greatest thing. One could argue that there is a direct connection to the more shares something gets the more likely it is to die off quicker. For example, all viral media has a social currency associated with it that makes it “cool”. When it’s been shared across the masses it losses its “cool” value and dies off. Facebook and other tech companies alike have similarly lost their “cool” value because its no longer exclusive. So where can we all make a stance on this issue of media living in the fast lane? I personally think, that business and the public, in order to keep up with the times need to embrace the swiftness of the web. Sure you’ve created something that was hilarious today, but what about tomorrow? We are in the age of information and it moves faster than any of us every could have imagined. So I think it’s only right to move with the times and not worry about how quickly something popular may die off on the web. The statistics are in and show that nothing stays on the minds of the users these days, mostly not even for a week. So what do you think, should we slow down and is it even possible to?