After reading an article my JOMC professor shared with the class (which discussed how to make videos go viral) and then comparing that information to Jimmy Fallon’s videos in my last post, I begin to consider…why exactly is it that emotions such as happiness are more likely to lead us to share information, videos, and messages we view on the web?

Following a little research, I found an interesting article which scientifically explains how our brains decided what we share online.

“Psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott discovered that our first emotional action in life is to respond to our mother’s smile with a smile of our own. Obviously, joy and happiness are hard-wired into all of us. The left pre-frontal cortex of the brain is where happiness traits like optimism and resilience live. Other than making us … well, happy … joy can also be a driver of action. Winnicott’s discovery of a baby’s ‘social smile’ also tells us that joy increases when it is shared. No wonder, then, that happiness is the main driver for social media sharing.”

Therefore, based on the article, we are more likely to share a video if it is positive and uplifting.  In addition, when the brains feels sadness, it produces particular neurochemicals such as cortisol, known as the “stress hormone.” We are less likely to feel the desire to share information when this hormone is produced.

It is vital that we study emotions to help market the content we place on the web. “In an analysis of the IPA dataBANK, which contains 1,400 case studies of successful advertising campaigns, campaigns with purely emotional content performed about twice as well (31% vs. 16%) as those with only rational content (and did a little better than those that mixed emotional and rational content). That makes sense based on what scientists know about the brain now–that people feel first, and think second. The emotional brain processes sensory information in one fifth of the time our cognitive brain takes to assimilate the same input.”

Much like Jimmy Fallon, we must consider our audience and understand how we can incorporate emotions in order to appeal to the general masses.  There are so many types of emotions, however, the key thing to remember is…if you want your video to go viral, make it happy!