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The 5 Critical Keys to Making Something Go Viral

Jonathan Albright writing at Medium:

In terms of historical engagement on Facebook, Right Wing News, a page representing a small (Hawkins' note: We were top 7,000 in the world at one time) news outlet line run by (John Hawkins), basically had no peers in the news industry on Facebook until the final stretch of the 2016 election.

The two red spikes shown to the right of the graph below are the interactions of Fox News’ page. The two spikes were the result of the network’s coverage of the 2016 election results and the presidential inauguration that followed in January. This means that the kind of numbers posted by Right Wing News two years earlier, at a time the platform wasn’t as large (see the series of green peaks to the left of graph) aren’t just good—they’re unbelievable.

...The above graph also shows that for all its liberal-hating fame, Breitbart’s Facebook page has 250 million more interactions to go before it even gets close to the kind of numbers that Right Wing News page had before it was taken down.

From the time of Obama’s 2012 re-election well into the 2016 election of Donald Trump, the pages of up-and-coming, arguably more popular right-wing news media—including Breitbart, Daily Caller, and the Western Journal—did not have anywhere near the kind of engagement that Right Wing News received on Facebook.

Between 2013 and 2016, Right Wing News and its affiliate pages consistently saw more interaction on Facebook than the pages of many of the largest news media in the country: the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Fox News. Combined.

Incidentally, those quotes come from a liberal arguing that the Right Wing News Facebook page, which I ran until 2018, was so good that we must have somehow, some way, been breaking Facebook’s rules. He doesn’t seem to have any idea HOW we were breaking the Facebook rules, which of course, we weren’t. Right Wing News did that well because we came along at the right time and had a brand a lot of people on the Right had heard of, unlike most of the other bigger Facebook pages. Also, I was really good at picking stories that were of interest to conservatives, did a lot of human interest stories that helped us get outside of our normal audience, and, if I do say so myself, I am extraordinarily good at writing titles. It was a perfect storm until Facebook decided pages like ours were doing too much to help conservatives and started working overtime to curtail our reach. How big was our reach? Well, you get a good idea of it from the quote above, but it’s also worth noting that we reached more Americans in a single week than the super scary Russian campaign that has been freaking Democrats out did in two and a half years. According to the New York Times, between January 2015 and August 2017, the Russians reached 126 million Americans on Facebook. This is what we did in a single week in July,