What do I need to do to go viral around here?

There is a new blog post about Love Actually currently doing the rounds on Facebook and Twitter. It basically tears the film to pieces and in less than two weeks it has had 61,000 likes.

That is impressive but consider the post detailing the theory on how all of the Pixar films are connected. The writer, Jon Negroni, postulates that all of the Pixar characters actually exist in the same world on one long timeline stretching from Scotland in the Dark Ages to a post apocalypse future where all humans have gone and the planet is populated by sentient talking vehicles. It is a brilliant example of a nerd over thinking stuff and so far it has had 229k likes on Facebook, been Googleshared 3k times, was pinned on 5k occasions and has had 16.7k tweets.

It is obviously the dream of every blogger to have something go viral quite so spectacularly and these two posts are nice examples of what you can do to make it happen.

Clearly a huge part of getting your words out there is to spend time getting them out there. I know if I was serious about one day selling my website for squidillions and having Aaron Sorkin win an Oscar for writing a screenplay about it then I would have to spend my evenings tweeting, retweeting, linking, tagging, seeing what is trending and tumblring but I don’t have any passion for that. I have dabbled in Hootsuite and constantly bang on about films on Facebook but it is musing on movies that I love not social networking. Fortunately I don’t think any of that is as important as actually writing something that people want to read. If you nail it, they will come.

Let’s start with the post on Love Actually (http://jezebel.com/i-rewatched-love-actually-and-am-here-to-ruin-it-for-al-1485136388). The writer, Lindy West, has gone through the whole film and shown it up as the parade of misogynistic, amoral, illogical and underdeveloped scenes that it is. The criticism is extreme and brutal but whether you think it is cruel and cynical or not will depend on your feelings towards the movie in question. Certainly not all of the vitriol is fair but West does make some very good points and I suspect even she doesn’t hate the film quite as much as she makes out. It is the mix of insight and spite that makes the post so readable because everybody enjoys a good rant.

My review guru is critic Mark Kermode and he has often spoken of his reputation for ripping into films but as he points out, the diatribes that top the list when you type his name into YouTube are not actually that typical of the hundreds of opinions he has put his name to. The fact is that anger is entertaining providing it stays the right side of trolling.

My original thought on reading West’s attack on Love Actually was that I wish I’d written it. Certainly I have some issues with the film, mainly surrounding its desperate need for a better edit. I particularly hate the section with Colin Frissell’s long haul booty call which is insulting to English boys, American girls and the audience’s intelligence. In retrospect though I couldn’t put my name to something like this. It isn’t that I couldn’t let the venom flow if I wanted to, I have enough indignation toward Avatar and Mama Mia! to fill up any number of blogs, it is just that this isn’t how I want my web voice to be. I don’t think I have the wit to pull it off either.

I’d be happier penning something more akin to the Pixar Post (jonnegroni.com/2013/07/11/the-pixar-theory). The idea started as a simple blog entry this Summer but now has a whole website dedicated to it and its own entry on Wikipedia. It has also earned its author thousands of dollars through advertising links. You’ve got to love the internet for allowing ordinary people some fame for just having an idea. Ideas can live forever and you don’t need to be Medgar Evers (who coined the notion), Albert Einstein, Alison Bechdel, Batman or Sherlock to prove it anymore. Negroni’s theory doesn’t quite hold water but it is fun and ingenious which I suspect are the two things he was going for and I think Negroni deserves every bit of the attention (and money) it has earned him. What it does do is what I would love my own writing to; it has given people something else to think and talk about.

So it is that I am currently working on something I’m going to call the ‘Caine Conjecture’ in which it is suggested that Michael Caine is in fact playing the same character in The Italian Job, The Dark Knight Trilogy and The Muppet Christmas Carol. At the moment it goes something like this: following his rehabilitation Ebenezer Scrooge was visited once more by the ghost of Christmas future who transported him to the 1960s. In an effort to regain the wealth he had left behind in Victorian times he turned to crime under the alias Charlie Croker. Following a failed heist in which he almost lost his life and did lose a large amount of gold over a cliff he changed his name again and took work as a butler for a wealthy American Doctor. When the Doctor and his wife were murdered and their son decided to become a vigilante fighting against injustice, Scrooge remembered a whole load of anthropomorphised talking animals he had once mixed with in 1840’s London and suggested the boy adopt the mantle of a bat.

Okay, it needs refining but the Christmas tie in will ensure it gets periodically Googled just like Lindy West’s thoughts on Love Actually. Maybe I could throw in some harsh criticism of a much loved classic like Alfie or Jaws 4 too, just for good measure.

Either way, great ideas get shared and as soon as I have one my blog is going to be massive.


4 thoughts on “What do I need to do to go viral around here?

    1. It is mine. I was quite pleased with it when I came up with it. See if you can fit it into conversation. For my part I am definitely going to find a time to use the word ‘assonance’ tomorrow.

      1. I had to check the spelling before i said it here… Have read the Jezebel article and even though I know it will come up in my facebook feed and barndish me a trouble-maker, I had to like it. My family all read the Daily mail and will tut at me for my lack of tact and its swear words, but it was uncannily accurate in its assertions!

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