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Will Nathan didn’t perform any kind of study, but at WMILESN, he shared his sudden insight that viral content “represent[s] or uncover[s] something pleasurable that we could never have conceived with our own minds.” But what is perhaps most interesting about all of this is that the most emailed articles actually tended to be longer than average.
Berger was careful to caution that this could have been because the topics were more engaging in the first place, but it certainly flies in the face of the “everything above the fold” mentality prominent on the web.
Inman learned how to attract attention online a few years earlier, when he launched a dating site called Mingle2. The site was instantly scooped up by a competitor, but he continued to market the site for them.
Inman’s dating site grew from zero to 2 million page views in 6 months. In the first year it was bringing in 40 million page views each month, with over a million registered users. With quizzes like this: Inman’s quirky quizzes were designed to appeal to social news sites like Digg (now basically defunct, replaced by the larger spiritual descendent: Reddit).
In fact, the power of awe was so overwhelming that one type of article outperformed all the others, to everybody’s amazement: science articles.But we can’t ignore the elements of surprise and positive emotion (humor).Inman’s work sometimes even goes so far as to elicit interest, discuss science, go on at length, and maybe even inspire awe.In 2009, Matthew Inman created a webcomic called The Oatmeal.
By 2010, the comic was receiving four million unique visitors each month. But the comic, quiz, and story site wasn’t how Inman got his start.His article “Offensive Play: How different are dogfighting and football?