Posted: February 26, 2014, 2:22 p.m.
by Stefanie Dunlap.
Social media is ever changing, and Facebook is no exception. Month after month, Facebook users have seen big and small changes in this medium.
Upon scrolling through your Facebook page, you may recognize an abundance of articles and videos that people are sharing with their friends. These articles range from giving you “12 Reasons Why Your Roommate is Your Soulmate” to a video of a young boy singing with the caption “This will give you chills.”
These article headlines are created to catch your eye as you scroll through your home page. Many of these headlines are meant to exaggerate a particular emotion to get the reader to click on the link.
Recently a PSA from Australia, urging kids to not skip school, has exploded on Facebook (viewer discretion is advised). The headline reads, This Anti-Skipping School Ad Is The Most Disturbing Thing I’ve Ever Seen, and the PSA showcases a group of teens playing hooky, heading to the beach for a thrilling day of surfing and swimming. After you start to think that this video is not as shocking as the headline led you to believe, each of the school-skipping students is blown up. They accidentally ventured into an explosives testing site.
Many people who shared this article also included their own captions, such as “Do not watch if you are sensitive to violence.” The headline and caption, along with the appalling content of the video, are what caused it to spread so quickly.
Another popular article that has appeared all over my Facebook is entitled, Guess What Chick-fil-A is Forcing on People Now. The article explores how the company served chicken sandwiches to many people in the South who were stranded in a snow storm in January.
Due to the company’s recent controversies about its political views, this story could interest many chicken-lovers who are anxious to see what Chick-fil-A is doing now. The timeliness of the article is critical because, although Chick-fil-A does not seem to be in any financial trouble, the fast food chain could definitely benefit from being talked about in a positive way.
The headline is expertly worded by being just vague enough to strike your interest. This article has aided in improving Chick-fil-A’s image and many other companies could use the same viral tactic to achieve a similar goal.
Now the question is, how can different companies tap into this new Facebook trend?
The most important characteristic of these articles is the headline. The headline should be relatively short and captivate a particular audience.
Secondly, the picture that goes along with the article is imperative to how far the article or video will go. The picture catches a Facebook user’s eye, leading directly to the headline.
Of course, for the content to reach thousands of Facebook users, it needs to have some interesting or shocking component to keep people passing it along. The PSA from Australia contained a rather extreme shocking element, while the Chick-fil-A article provided interesting information on a company that has recently had issues with a segment of its consumers.
These articles and videos shared through Facebook may constitute one of the easier forms of communication. If you provide an article or video with a striking headline or photo, as well as have information that would appeal to an audience, Facebook users will do the rest for you!