When it comes to setting and spreading trends, virility is one of the characteristics that makes the Internet stand out over all other previous trend-spreading formats. With the development of video networks like YouTube and social networks like FaceBook, the phenomenon of “going viral” has become a key feature of how trends spread through the Internet. The phrase, “going viral” typically refers to trends that gain popularity and spread at an exponential rate within a very short amount of time. When it comes to trends “going viral”, no formats can carry this out as efficiently as the Internet.
Prior to the invention of the Internet, trends still existed and spread through different, perhaps more primitive ways. Through newspapers, television, and simple gossip, trends spread at a rate that, back then was the quickest a trend could spread, but now might seem very slow. With the invention of the Internet into modern society, the rate at which trends are able to popularize has skyrocketed. The video website known as YouTube provides a most well-known example of how something can go viral in, seemingly, the blink of an eye. For example, in July of 2012, South Korean music artist Psy posted the music video on YouTube of his song Gangnam Style. Within the next five months, the video became the most viewed video ever on YouTube, with over a billion views. Gangnam Style‘s virility does not stop there; a few years later, the video literally “broke” YouTube by surpassing the number of views that the website was capable of counting. This issue has since been fixed and the video continues to gain views, currently at just under two and a half billion views. What role does virility play in how people communicate on the Internet?