Neetzan Zimmerman, founder of The Daily What, now writes for Gawker and recently wrote a piece that’s getting some attention. In it, Zimmerman describes the process he used to find the content that grew TDW into one of the better websites at posting viral links early and often. The headline of the article, ‘This Is How You Make Something Go Viral: An Impractical Guide,’ is something of a misnomer, as there’s no information about how to make something go viral. On the other hand, Zimmerman’s process is even more interesting read. Basically, it involves a tiered system for finding the blogs that feed the blogs that feed the giant link sites. In the system, if Zimmerman sees a link pop up at a few of the feeder blogs, it’s a good bet the content is on it’s way to going viral.
Using an RSS reader to organize my findings, I established a set of categories for each site-type (news, vids, pics, link-sites, general interest, tech, geek, gossip, entertainment, design, art, fashion, and food), and further arranged each site within each category by order of influence. The top tiers were reserved for “mainstream sites” â€” sites where most of the sharing was occurring (i.e., the content disseminating sites listed above). The lower tiers were reserved for sites that supplied content to top tier sites, but were themselves low on visits.
Left somewhat unsaid, is why you won’t be able to do this yourself. Zimmerman has a golden eye for finding content ready to go viral (according to Know Your Meme you can thank him for Rebecca Black). The other thing is how much time it takes. You have to read a lot of the internet, all of it, to find the content other people want to share.
The Nieman Journalism Lab had a pretty good follow up.
Somewhat related, “Is The Free Internet A New God?”
Where do I find content? Mostly from Stellar, Twitter, Tumblr, and RSS, in that order.