I don’t know about you, but this whole writing and connecting online thing is getting exhausting. You spend hours torturing yourself in an effort to extract some deep dark thought from within your brain only to have it met with the digital equivalent of an underwhelming round of applause.

And for what?

The hopes of being chosen. Of being awarded the holy grail of the Internet.

Going viral.

Well, you’re in luck! Because if 2013 is any indication, going viral in 2014 will not require an ounce of talent, perseverance or hard work. In fact, after spending several painstaking minutes researching some of the biggest overnight sensations of 2013, I have been able to whittle the entire process down into 3 very simple steps.

Here’s how it works:

  • Step 1: Start a blog (optional)
  • Step 2: Setup a Twitter or Facebook account (optional)
  • Step 3: Say something racist, offensive and/or really stupid. Or do something racist, offensive and/or really stupid and allow someone to take a picture of it or capture it on video.

That’s it.

Think about all of the others that have come before you over the past year. How they have mastered this very simple step by step process and the astounding results they have achieved.

First, there is Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty and that whole “gay people are going to hell” thing which, for the record, is so overplayed nowadays. If you are going to judge and condemn an entire community of people that you don’t know, at least make an effort to come up with something original. And while you’re at it, stop blaming God for all of your asinine beliefs.

Then we have Justine Sacco who you may or may not have heard of. She is…sorry…was a PR executive that Tweeted an idiotic comment about not getting AIDS while on her way to Africa because she’s white. The Internet was ablaze with people sharing, commenting, meme-ing, tracking her flight and even showing up at the airport. All in real time. Unfortunately for her stupid trumps white every time.

We shouldn’t forget the parade of idiots during this years Miss America pageant and their forced outrage over someone that does not look like them winning a contest that they don’t watch or care about.

And of course those tasteful “suggestions” people have been leaving on their check in lieu of a tip for their waiter or waitress. That one alone could fill a book. Nice new trend for 2013 by the way. Good job everybody!

My Point Is This

These are the types of things that we have chosen to make viral. Yes. That is correct. We made this stuff viral. Together. All of us.

We thought it was important enough to share. We validated it by throwing in our two cents and commenting. And we pointed and laughed.

We were the ones that slowed down on the highway in an effort to get a closer look at the accident. All while complaining about the traffic that it caused without even realizing the problem was us. Not the accident.

It’s not their fault. They are idiots. More idiots are coming. Trust me. It’s our fault for rewarding them.

So, if we have the power to make something go viral, what if we were to change the rules? What if we only shared the good stuff? The stuff that actually meant something. The stuff that we could show our kids to inspire them to be better people. The stuff that would make us as a society proud of who we have become.

I know. It’s not as much fun to share the video about the town that showed up to support a kid being bullied in school. Or the time Bat Kid saved the city from the hands of The Joker.

But it could be.

Let’s Look At The Big Picture

What if instead of more commentary on Phil Robertson’s right to voice his opinion of gay people, we wrote about the teen that told his Mom he was gay in font of a hidden camera. And how his Mom responded with nothing but pure love for her child. Imagine what that could do for someone fighting that same demon afraid to let their parents know who they really are.

Or what if instead of tracking the minute by minute flight details of some PR executive headed to Africa with a faulty on/off switch in her brain and an overzealous Twitter thumb, we tracked a woman taking that same flight to volunteer and help the people of Africa. And what if instead of an angry mob there to greet her, there was a parade of people to cheer her on and help.

Or what if instead of sharing the racist comments made after the winner of the Miss America pageant was announced, we shared the positive ones so a young impressionable girl of Indian descent really felt what it’s like to have her heritage be accepted and considered beautiful. Instead of controversial. Imagine the impact that could make on her life moving forward and how that might affect us all because of who she becomes.

Wishful Thinking…

I know that’s what you are thinking, right? Well, I’m going to have to respectfully disagree and say bullshit. I have to believe that we can create this if we want it bad enough.

If you just move one grain of sand, the world will never be the same. Each one of us will play a role in changing the world. It’s just a matter of whether our role will change it in a positive way or in a negative way.

The Internet gives us that power and the choice.

So, as we wind down on 2013 and gear up for another year, I want to challenge you. And I want you to challenge me.

Let’s change the rules. Let’s change what we write about. Let’s change what we share. Let’s change who we reward and let’s start lifting up those that truly deserve it.

Starting right now.

In the comments below, please share some of the best stories, content, pictures and videos you can find and together let’s make them go viral!

  • Tom Martin

    Marc — Great blog post! It’s amazing how this year has been full of “haters” dominating the media. Let’s not forget about Paula Deen or the “elected haters” in Congress! I understand that internet searches for “Miley Cyrus” and “twerking” far outpaced searches for information about the crisis in Syria. If we’re looking for positive stories and heroes, let’s start with the families of Newtown who have been courageously turning that tragedy into a positive message of hope and empowerment.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      It is amazing looking back, but I can’t help but think that 2014 is going to be a much more positive year! It already feels better! But maybe that’s just my imagination…

  • lisa demmi

    That was easy.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      See that?!? Just add water and mix.

  • http://dustn.tv/ Dustin W. Stout

    Wow… I totally agree with you Marc. This stuff has to stop and we have the power to change it!

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Thanks Dustin! I won’t tell anyone about the screaming goats video you keep sharing 😉 Just kidding…

  • http://LeeSilverstein.com Lee Silverstein

    Not only are “we” to blame, but the media has a great deal of culpability in what goes viral. One of your best posts my friend. Keep up the good work.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Couldn’t agree more Lee! The media definitely plays a role in this whole thing! And thanks for the kind words about the post too :)

  • http://themarkcryan.com/ Mark Ryan

    Good post, but you forgot one caveat. Stupid begets stupid. And my personal guess is that people who made the stuff viral are not your readers. I am so out of the loop that I never heard of the Miss America thing or the PR exec thing, nor do I have clue about screaming goats. The internet is full of opinions, and opinions are like noses, everyone has one (except for that viral pic that exists somewhere of a guy with no nose) and it has a couple of holes. Keep up the good work, out of the blogs I came across in 2013, yours is one of my favourite. It isn’t the typical self-help, my life is perfect, you should be more like me drivel that has become so prevalent. Cheers!

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      I do agree about stupid begetting stupid, but you still have otherwise intelligent people getting sucked into this stuff. When you have a video with 100,000,000 views, I can’t imagine all if those people are stupid. If they are, we’re screwed!!!!

  • http://iamles.com/ Les Dossey

    Great stuff Marc. I’m with you 100%.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Thanks as always Les!!

  • Andrew

    BRAVO MARC – Your comment is a keeper …and a re-poster. Thank you.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Thanks Andrew!!! I appreciate the comment and the share!!

  • Peter Goral

    Nice job Marc, I think that this is your best yet. It’s difficult being a member of the human race, and as people care less about others in these times of entitlement, it’s become even tougher to pull yourself out of the traffic here on the Internet.

    There’s obviously a fine line between being yourself, offering others a perspective to learn and grow from, and getting caught up in a moment that sidelines you either through humour or simple disgust at what someone has chosen to display openly here.

    I’m an avid communicator online via Twitter, email, Google+ much like yourself, and I make my job to speak up when things are wrong and propose quality alternatives. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that I get the audience I’m after. I agree with Mark Ryan in that your Blog post will also not be read by those that need to, but kudos to you for continuing the uphill trek to getting the word out.

    My sincere best to you and your family for a great 2014. Who knows, perhaps you’ll grab more people in your domain and wipe out some more negativity and stupidity here on the Internet.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Hey Peter! Thanks so much for the comment!!! This is the type of response that gives me faith that I’m on the right track and hope that we have a chance to actually make a difference! Thanks!!!

  • Aimee Ensign

    Here’s a great video that went viral about an older couple trying to post a photo of themselves, but at the same time having fun with the technical age that is all new to them. This is a perfect example of what You are talking about, Marc! We need more of THIS! You are AWESOME!!!


    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Yay!!! You actually read and commented on my post! Just like old times when you were the only one that read and commented on my blog!!!

  • http://www.iheavy.com/blog/ Sean Hull

    Great post Marc. It is a sad trend, isn’t it.

    The only thing I’d disagree with is: “These are the types of things we have chosen to make viral.”

    I suspect people do this out of impulse. Just got halfway through Ryan Holiday’s excellent book “Trust Me I’m Lying, Confessions of a Media Manipulator”. He argues that it is just like the era of the Yellow Press starting with the NY Sun in 1833. Since news was sold on the street corner, headlines had to sell the paper. They relied on gossip, imposters, frauds & fake interviews. It’s interesting to read a bit of history and see how closely it parallels what’s happening today.

    I’d agree with him that it is in large part due to the economics of pageviews & clicks. Until we switch back to the subscription model, things will probably continue on this path.

    Check out the book, it’s an excellent read.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Thanks for the suggestion Sean!!! I added that book to my list! I have a goal this year of reading 52 books, so if you have any other suggestions, I’m open!!!

      • http://www.iheavy.com/blog/ Sean Hull

        The Net Delusion is also on my list, though I haven’t read it yet. Also The ETTO Principle & The Silent Language of Leaders.

  • Stan Bush

    Once again #MarcEnsign #isontarget with his #incredibleobservations about #internettrends that #blowthemind and are #challengingtosaytheleast when it comes to #beingproductive. #congratsisinorder #youareawesome #mustreadblogpost #MarkRules

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      HA!!!! Greatest comment ever! I’ll even overlook that you spelled my name wrong 😉

      • Stan Bush

        But only once! So that makes the glass #halffu… wait…#halfemp… hmm…
        I think it makes me a #halfwit!

  • http://RonaldWilsher.com/ Ronald Earl Wilsher

    Truth. Keep workin’ it out, Mr. M.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Thanks Mr. R!!!! 😀

  • http://orraclemedia.com/ Rob Orr

    Word. Outstanding.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Thanks Rob!!!

  • Teresa Capaldo

    Totally agree and great article Marc!

    Relative to noteworthy stories for this year (that have nothing to do with marketing), Jeff Bauman, victim from the Boston bombing comes to mind. He actually made eye contact with the bomber minutes before the explosion and later identified the suspect. He’s a True Hero! It nearly cost him his life. He lost and suffered severely and his life will never be the same. Jeff’s story is REAL life and worth remembering!

    Happy New Year!


    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Thanks for sharing Teresa!!!! It’s an awesome story!!!!

  • http://www.jasonfrasca.com/deconstructing-tech-blog/ Jason Frasca

    Marc, posts like this will save the internet. Kudos to you for standing up and shouting for whats needed.

  • http://www.alittlelunch.com/ Kim Bultman

    Marc, my hubby & I used to be over-the-road truck drivers and the phenomenon you described is what we dubbed (coming upon the inevitable traffic jam surrounding an accident scene, even if it was three lanes across the interstate): “Look at the pretty lights syndrome.” Folks are fascinated by the inflammatory. Let’s hope attention spans and discernment improve (on the road and on the internet) in 2014. Thanks!

  • Irenee Alma

    Thank you for the article! So true and right you are. Had similar thoughts recently and thought about to seek posts with good news and achievments and use the good news hashtag before sharing.. Wrote about it in my public post with a newspaper last week. Many have lost perspective!

  • Marilyn Shannon

    Marc you really have described the shift and in order to sustain ourselves we really do need to look at what we are sharing, doing, and seeing in a healthier way. In a moment of #listening to ourselves we can catch a tone and message and shift the word and intention so our planet can heal. Here is a poem that I love.
    http://www.reenchantplanetearth.com/ReenchantPoem.htm it is about our responsibility to ReEnchant the planet. The planet has everything we need and want and with simply doing what you describe we can. Thank you for being honest.

  • Indulekha

    This is something that crossed my mind several times! I’m reading this on the go. So I will come back with stuff that truly deserve to go viral. And thank you, THANK YOU for this post!

  • Karl Louis

    yep, be different … be honest … be yourself.
    forget this “internet famous thing” – it means nothing, nothing at all.

  • http://www.theunlost.com Therese

    Oh my gosh, I just found this. Love it. Love YOU! Keep being awesome… you have a new fan! :)

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      :) Thanks a lot!!! I’m posting this comment on my wall!