The Anatomy of a Google+ "viral"

On Monday I shared a video on Google+. For want of a better word; it went viral. This was my first such widespread exposure on Google+ even though Google+ is probably now my preferred connected platform.

The video went viral for two reasons. Firstly; it's a good video that comes with a significant twist. It shocks some people so watch at your own risk.

Secondly, I encouraged the first dozen or so shares myself - persuading people to pass the video on to their circles. The strength of the creative was that it didn't take much more than a dozen or so of these encouraged shares before the momentum picked up.

Google+ Ripples feature provides a great way to see how the spreading occurred. You can see the live spread here.

The size of the circle indicates extra resharing from the audience that user addresses.

The latest version of Google+ does not have a "hot" section people can access directly (nor does the mobile) but it does have Google+ Explore. My post featured there. I know this because I was checking. I don't know whether the post ever earned a little flame corner tag and started to appear in people's mobile streams.

On sites like or you tend to get notification when your content has been "promoted" from the main stream to a greater awareness. I didn't get any such notification from Google for this "success".

Facebook only shares Page content with a percentage of users (and its testing methods to let brands increase that value). Twitter has a busy stream with tweets rushing past and which are easy to miss. Right now, I feel, Google+ is a far easier place to push content so that it becomes widely shared.

Google+ shows all posts to everyone, like Twitter, but will also re-position content so that users can see more popular shares more often. This means that the combination of strong creative combined with a basic media understanding will take you long way on Google+ today. There are accounts, plenty of them, earning a significant chunk of followers by just curating strong visual content.


The Google+ Android app is quite good at finding that balance between alerting you that your post is getting comments and not nagging your for each and every comment.

Many people did not seem to understand the creative idea. A common comment was;
But she's not driving a car!

One commentator wondered if a car had crashed through a wall, one pointed out that she had been hit from behind so was not at fault and another suggested doctors and 'abortionists' kill far more people.

Some of the comments came from people who clearly hadn't watched to the end - thanking me for the tutorial. Other comments came from people who wanted to find out how the tutorial would have ended.

Are there lessons from that? Just the that the more people who see your content the wider the range of type of person you have to deal with becomes.

The connection between Google+ and YouTube is quite strong. I know many people who can only see the improvements that are needed but Google+, to me, feels like the early stage of a social TV network.

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