How To Make A Viral Hit In Four Easy Steps

Last Wednesday, BuzzFeed’s Jack Shepherd published an irresistible piece called, “21 Pictures That Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity.” The post is exactly as advertised, a rundown of photos of people being more wonderful than you’d expect—rescuing animals from danger, helping strangers in need, expressing tolerance for others, and all manner of additional good stuff. It became an instant hit on Reddit, Twitter, and especially Facebook, where it has earned more than 2 million Likes. So far, the post has attracted more than 7 million views, and as of Tuesday morning, its traffic shows no sign of abating.

When I saw Shepherd’s piece, my first thought was, Why didn’t I think of that? It’s a question that often pulls at me when I point my browser to BuzzFeed, which I do many times a day. Like a modern-day, unstuffy Reader’s Digest, BuzzFeed has a knack for distilling the good and the bad of life on the Internet into short, fun, highly clickable vignettes.

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