Here is the full transcript of BuzzFeed publisher Dao Nguyen’s Talk: What Makes Something Go Viral? at TED conference.
Dao Nguyen – TRANSCRIPT
Last year, some BuzzFeed employees were scheming to prank their boss, Ze Frank, on his birthday. They decided to put a family of baby goats in his office.
Now, BuzzFeed had recently signed on to the Facebook Live experiment, and so naturally, we decided to livestream the whole event on the internet to capture the moment when Ze would walk in and discover livestock in his office. We thought the whole thing would last maybe 10 minutes, and a few hundred company employees would log in for the inside joke.
But what happened? They kept on getting delayed: he went to get a drink, he was called to a meeting, the meeting ran long, he went to the bathroom. More and more people started logging in to watch the goats. By the time Ze walked in more than 30 minutes later, 90,000 viewers were watching the livestream.
Now, our team had a lot of discussion about this video and why it was so successful. It wasn’t the biggest live video that we had done to date. The biggest one that we had done involved a fountain of cheese. But it performed so much better than we had expected.
What was it about the goats in the office that we didn’t anticipate? Now, a reasonable person could have any number of hypotheses. Maybe people love baby animals. Maybe people love office pranks. Maybe people love stories about their bosses or birthday surprises. But our team wasn’t really thinking about what the video was about. We were thinking about what the people watching the video were thinking and feeling.