Porter Novelli

It’s 4:00pm on a Thursday afternoon. You’ve finished that evaluation and you’re just not quite ready to take on the next task. What do you do? Well, it might be tempting to take a 15-minute time out to check your feed on Facebook, read the latest stories on your favorite news website, or watch that video on YouTube your friend sent you earlier that day.

Jonah Peretti, founder and CEO of BuzzFeed (and previous co-founder of the Huffington Post), considers us part of the growing bored at work network – millions of office workers around the world who are a fundamental part of making content ‘go viral’ online.

In his keynote address at SxSW 2013, Peretti spoke of the importance of this audience for BuzzFeed, the “first true social news organization: a unique blend of breaking news, entertainment and shareable content.” If you’re wondering how an article about Pope Francis could sit alongside a gallery of “38 CDs that are at every used record store and garage sale,” take a look at the mash of stories in your feed on Facebook.

Although being a term that had fallen out of favor among marketers in the past, what’s important for us to remember is that we are all part of this audience. So rather than wondering how we can entice ‘online influencers’ to share interesting content, what we should really consider is the content that we are most likely to share with our family, friends and colleagues.

Powerful content allows us to share experiences and forge a stronger connection with our online communities. Next time we’re thinking of an idea for content that has the potential to go far and wide, Peretti asks us consider:

· Does it draw positive emotion?

· Will it provide a sense of identity?

· Does it capture the moment?

· Is there an element of humor?

· Does it create a sense of nostalgia?

Beyond the idea, we should also pay more attention to how content could be promoted to increase its chance of taking off. This means understanding how we use our online platforms to interact with our communities – what we may share in an email to our work colleagues isn’t necessarily what we would share with our friends on Facebook or post on a blog.

We know we can’t ever predict what is going to go ‘viral.’  But as long as we can stay close to what makes us human, we’re halfway there.