Social Media is Viral. Want proof?

If you’ve ever questioned the viral capabilities of Social Media…consider this.

Though still a sensitive topic for many – including yours truly – let us reflect back on the infamous Rugby World Cup 2011 quarter-final game between South Africa and Australia this past weekend. You may recall a chap by the name of Bryce Lawrence who refereed said game – or at least that is what the entire Rugby watching planet expected him to do.

Following what I imagine to be a few crocodile tears shed over Lawrence’s inept refereeing skills to the detriment of our beloved Springbok team, one noble champion took it upon himself (or herself) to start a Facebook Page aptly named ‘Petition To Stop Bryce Lawrence Ever Reffing A Rugby Game Again’.

But this is beside the point, we are here to talk about the viral capability of Social Media…therefore enter the following chain of events.

Launched on Sunday, shortly following the epic quarter final clash, the aforementioned Facebook page surfaced on our social radar.

The idea was, and is, fundamentally basic, drum up support for a cause by taking it social. By 10pm on Sunday evening, roughly 12 hours after the Page went live, it had rallied 1,000 Likes. Nothing to be bashful about as it can take many a business months to achieve a similar result.

At 2pm Monday word had reached Sport24, with the fan page count at 10,000 Likes and increasing by around 300 Likes every five minutes. By 5pm, 3 hours on, the figure had doubled with the tally at 20,000+ Likes – this a mere 30 odd hours after launching the petition Page on Facebook with its initial call for support.

By 2pm Tuesday, less than a day later (and a mere 2 days after launch), 50,000+ individuals worldwide were now joined in a common cause.

And this is not even mentioning the tens of thousands of tweets flooding Twitter streams, catapulting the subject of Bryce Lawrence to be one of the most talked about topics on the microblog over the past 48 hours, with hash-tags such as #stopbryce setting the pace.

So why did this viral whirlwind have such a phenomenal uptake?

The governing principles of Social Media are distinctly visible here. In order to deliver successful results you need to drive successful content and conversations, in other words – keep it simple, write what you are passionate about, follow the latest trends and ensure that there is an audience out there that is willing to listen to you…and more importantly, support your cause/business/initiative!

Where could we even have dreamed to gain such results from any medium a few years back? No doubt that social media is by far the most powerful viral platform at our disposal today.

Oh, and the outcome? Even though the IRB has to date indicated that they will not be taking any official action against Mr Bryce Lawrence, the latest reports indicate that he will not be refereeing any of the remaining games of the Rugby World Cup 2011.

Nor, possibly, will he be making any planned trips to South Africa in the foreseeable future…

And then there is the poor chap who got knocked, clean off of his bicycle by, get this…an antelope. This separate incident also took place on Sunday morning, with a video thereof posted on YouTube. Within the same time span as the petition mentioned above (2 days later), the 17 year old Evan van der Spuy, has now become an overnight celebrity, with well over 5 million hits worldwide on this mind-boggling video clip… Mountain biker gets taken out by buck

Proving just how ironic social media can be – revenge of the bokke?

This certainly is viral at its best!

Written by Kobus van den Berg
Managing Director
eMarketing Solutions

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