I went viral last year. Well, not just me. A bunch of super talented people who made this video I wrote also went viral. It was a fun, frightening few days.
I've written several videos and articles since, and I've been proud of them and very happy with the results and humbled to be able to do them. But, it's hard to make lightning strike again. Especially, perhaps, when there's an iota of expectation involved.
It seems like the best anyone can do today is be passed around social media for a few days and then immediately forgot. Remember The Evolution of Mom Dancing? Or that really hot guy in with the sex mugshot? Eh, no one else does either, really. #Kony2012? That might as well have happened in the Triassic Period.
I suppose this is always been the life cycle of notoriety. A moment in the sun, chatter, and then a fade out. It just used to last longer. Decades ago, movies would run in theaters for half or most of a year. A creative effort could be appreciated, discussed, in the zeitgeist for much longer. Mostly because there was less, and a slower production pace. Now, it's a couple days. Hours, even. We go to Broadway shows, the zenith of live performance spectacle (North Korean arena pageants not withstanding) and check our phones the entire time to see if someone Liked our status update about seeing this show. We go to the concerts of legends and the most famous people in the world and we stare at them through our phones, because we want credit for being there. It's not about them, or their music. It's about crafting that perfect image on social media so the appropriate people will celebrate you/be jealous. So you can break 100 likes. So you can go micro-viral. Be somebody. But, even then, it only lasts a few hours.
Ruby Dee dies and she gets about half an hour of Facebook RIPs and links and photos from when she was young. And then, gone. Supplanted by man saving a drowning bear or a guy stuck in a giant stone vagina.
We're such a bored species. We all want to feel Big Emotions, but without doing the things to earn those Big Emotions ourselves. We all want to life to feel a little more like a movie, which is perhaps why we're obsessed with curating our own storyboards via our Facebook walls That's why we gawk at car accidents and mindlessly scroll through our Facebook feed for our tenth Most Amazing Video You've Ever Seen of the day. That's why we divorce our husbands after two years of marriage, because suddenly we're not celebrities anymore and no one cares that we're married and the number of Likes we get on our re-re-re-re-posted wedding photos has dropped off a cliff. No one cares anymore.
And when they do, it's only for an instant. Then it's back to boredom.