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It used to be that ‘going viral’ meant that people forwarded the s$#t out of some meme.

Today, you don’t really hear the word “viral”—”virality” yes, but more on that in a minute.

Here’s why:

In the olden days—4 years ago!—”viral” meant that a meme spread throughout networks as a result of many people working fairly hard/investing real quantities of time—most likely that meant people spammed their address book or fired off 10s or 100s of individual emails. It meant that the meme had overcome a relatively significant impediment to achieve ubiquity or success.

But today that doesn’t apply. Today, meme’s traverse an ecosystem that is fundamentally built to facilitate the success of viruses.

So today we use ‘virality’ to describe the relative success or value of a meme’s growth towards ubiquity—because everything is viral, isn’t it?

And “virality” isn’t even listed in!