Media is irrevocably linked to the spread of nationalism. Nothing helped facilitate the dispersion of rampant national pride like the printing press back in 1440; and since then developments in media have only served to provide more extensive platforms for national discourse.
In 2016, social media is a shining example if this. A look at two viral affairs in the past week provides a perfect snapshot of polarised representations of nationalism – one solid, unified; one messy and disparate.
While there is no clear path towards creating viral media, certain social triggers are quite powerful in assisting the trajectory of content and how people are going to react. We’re talking beyond the usual celebrity of someone with a massive following such as Britney Spears.
Nationalism and viral content are often found sitting comfortably side-by-side in the media landscape, and understanding why could be a useful tool within your content marketing strategy.
Two major viral instances this week highlight the way that nationalism is perpetuated by media, and vice versa. But what does this have to do with your digital strategy?
The Orlando Shooting
The tragedy that occurred in Orlando, USA this week was one of those catastrophic events that rouses a reaction throughout not only the affected country, but the entire world. This week all eyes were on America as it reeled from the shock of its worst massacre in history.
A violent attack like this sends people into a frenzy of conversation that reverberates throughout the media landscape.
A look at the Buzzsumo statistics around the word “Orlando” show quite disparate results. There is no doubt that each of the top results have gone viral in a very big way. What is interesting however, is how different each article is.
Of course, an incident like this is multi-layered, with so many different points of conversation: gun laws, terrorism, the country’s leadership, gay rights. But each of these divergent topics have received a very even spread of virality.
An article demonising Obama’s blasé response that “We’ [the US] are to blame, not Islamic terrorism, for massacre” received 125K shares on social media by outraged readers.
An article detailing the shooter’s alleged allegiance to ISIS received 106K shares.
Another article in Esquire titled “What It Costs to Be Gay in Public” was shared 95K times, assumedly by members of, and sympathisers, for the gay community.
Finally, (hopefully) disgusted readers shared an article about a Westboro Chruch pastor celebrating the incident by saying “God sent the shooter” 100K times.
Despite the confusing nature of this viral firestorm, there is one thing that is uniform throughout: nationalism. Despite those who shared these articles assumedly having very different reasons for doing so, they all have a very similar agenda – expressing their opinions in hope for a better America (or something along those lines).
the lgbtq+ community remains a force. we are strong, magical, resilient, and we will continue to show up. https://t.co/CaNQpJDEz2
— Tyler Oakley (@tyleroakley) June 13, 2016
All of these articles went viral for different reasons; but in a wider sense, a nationalistic core can be found in each article, and in the acts of sharing by all those who proliferated them.
The Chiefs and The Haka
This viral affair reveals very convoluted way that nationalism is perpetuated by media. On a lighter side of the online landscape this week, a very different piece of content sheds light on same very same concept.
Over the weekend, New Zealand Super Rugby team The Chiefs beat Wales 40 to 7 – a fair thrashing for top level rugby.
Despite the win for the The Chiefs, all fans could talk about was The Haka before the game. In fact, the NZ Herald’s article portraying The Chiefs performing The Haka was shred over 600K times on social media.
Compared to the convoluted nature of the Orlando shootings as a viral affair spurred on by nationalism, this instance is very straight forward: pure national pride.
Few traditions inspire more patriotism in a Kiwi than The Haka, and an instance like this where the ritual was the precursor to glorious triumph is prime to go viral.
In this instance, The Haka seems to take on a mythical quality, and people shared with pride.
While not all of these instances of content going viral may be directly applicable to your content marketing strategy, they no doubt shed light on why some pieces of content spread like they do. And they key is often a social triggers like nationalism.
Online media provides a potent platform for the perpetration of national pride. Almost anyone with large Kiwi fan-base could have implemented the video of the Chiefs performing The Haka into their content marketing strategy, and most certainly would have reaped the benefits in terms of driving traffic and building their audience.
Digital strategy is the process of carefully considered digital marketing methods that when combined help grow your business. Each industry and client is different and therefore require a uniquely tailored approach.
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