The spreading of digital content, such as images, videos, or links, in a short period of time through online media such as Social Networking Sites (SNSs) and electronic mail,  shared by a large number of people (Nahon & Hemsley, 2013).

What is virality?

Virality is related to “the astonishing speed and scope with which often “empty” (i.e. not a priori determined) signs circulate online.” (Varis & Blommaert, 2015) According to Hemsley & Mason, virality is as ' word-of-mout-like cascade diffusion process wherein a message is actively forwarded from one person to other, withing and between multiple weekaly linked personal networks, resulting is a rapid increas in the number of people who are exposed to the message. (Hemsley & Mason, 2013). 

Hemsley & Mason identitfy three key attributes of virality (Shifman, 2014:55): 

  1. person-to-person mode of diffusion
  2. great spead in diffusion enabled by the affordences of socia media
  3. broad reach. 



Hemsley, J. & MAson, R. (2013). The nature of knowledge in the social media age: Implications for knwoledge management models. Journal of origanizational computing and electronic commerce 23, no 1-2 '2013): 138-176.

Nahon, K & Hemsley, J. (2013). Going Viral. Polity Press, UK.

Varis, P., & Blommaert, J. (2015). Conviviality and collectives on social media: Virality, memes, and new social structures. Multilingual Margins 2(1), 31-45.