Why Viral Posts Are the New Stupid

How Artificially Boosting the Algorithm will Backfire and Harm Your Brand (and What to Do Instead)

Krista Mollion


@brandialxndra for Unsplash

As a marketer, the number one question I get is “How can I get popular?” This translates in people’s minds into two things:

  • Growing a large following
  • Having your posts get a large number of views and likes

This goal is understandable. Being popular means more eyes on your work, increased credibility, and a wider reach to your audience, right? That should hopefully translate into more sales.


If done the right way, you win the gold. Your social reputation goes up and this translates into more clients, more influence, and paid opportunities.

But if done the wrong way, you’ll regret it. In fact, if you grab attention by the wrong means, you can even permanently damage your reputation.

People will go to great lengths for fame.

Between 2012 and 2018, there were online dares about ingesting Tide Pods laundry detergent. Hundreds of kids participated in the Tide Pod challenge, especially on YouTube, which reached its peak in 2018. Since Tide Pods are poisonous, many of these jokes ended with a visit to the hospital for poisoning. You’d wonder if the moment of fame was worth it.

If that weren’t bad enough, the Fire Challenge was when people doused themselves with a flammable liquid and set themselves ablaze, causing cases of death. The Choking Game, Pass-Out Challenge, and the very worst, The Blue Whale Challenge (aka a suicide dare).

In 2019, YouTube updated its policies to ban dangerous prank or challenge videos on its platform that could “cause death”.

But the ridiculous attention-seeking behavior isn’t limited to YouTube. In 2020, a teen created the Coronavirus challenge on Tiktok where she repeatedly licked an airplane toilet and posted that she would not possibly get the virus. She got Covid-19. Along with a ton of hate. I think she even got banned from Tiktok.

People injure themselves regularly in the quest for the perfect selfie. Some selfies are even deadly like cliff…



Krista Mollion

Ex-Agency Owner For Top Iconic Brands Turned Fractional CMO + Educator for Small Business Owners and Creators To Go From Semi-Invisible To Un-Ignorable