‘Viral’-ness Getting Out of Hand

OK, so are you as sick as I am of the way the media has appended the term “viral” to almost every journalistic item online? I’ve been browsing Google News, and I’m hard-pressed to find a news item without that word. Here are some of the really lame (and also kind of hilarious) ways that journalists have used the term “viral” to appeal to online readers recently:

1. To describe Sarah Palin’s online buzz: Sarah Palin is viral success Quip: What’s the difference between George Bush and a virus? One successfully invades a host.

2. To describe Disney’s new time share marketing strategy
: Disney goes viral with marketing for new time share Quip: Hey, kids, Disney’s going viral! Mickey Mouse is going to have the most viscous phlegm of all the characters in the Magic Kingdom! Who’s the genius that decided “Disney” and “viral” should be put into the same sentence?

3. As an adjective to describe fans:
Fans Go Viral Over Fox’s ‘Fringe’ Quip: I haven’t shuddered at an article title in a long time. Maybe even never. What a scary, creepy and dumb way to use the v-word. Next on When Animals Attack—Fans go viral! Even creepier: The article contains the phrase “Once fans get bitten by the viral marketing bug…” I’d rather not get bitten by anything, thanks. I’d rather play Resident Evil 4 than read this article.
4. With the prefix hyper: ‘Numa Numa’ kid and Rihanna and T.I.’s hyper-viral new song Quip: What the heck is “hyper-viral”? Can someone define that for me? Because it just sounds like a bunch of hype. Oh, incidentally, the kid who dances to ‘Numa Numa’ on YouTube is the real viral sensation. Rihanna and T.I. sampled the song for their MTV VMA performance. The only thing lamer than the term “hyper-viral”? The MTV VMAs.

5. As the property of a band whose lead singer knocked up Ashlee Simpson:
Copeland Hijack Fall Out Boy’s Viral Marketing Quip: I’ve got news for you, writer. It isn’t just Fall Out Boy’s Viral Marketing. It belongs to everybody. And how can one “hijack” a social phenomenon? I can imagine outraged fangirls crying, “Damn you, Copeland, for copying—nay, hijacking—what’s rightfully Fall Out Boy’s!” Oh, Pete Wentz! He’s so dreamy… That’s all for now. I’ll be sure to keep you posted on the latest gems out there in the world of news and reporting. While you’re out there on the web researching viral marketing, check out a more legit way to advertise online: email marketing. Until then, viral readers, go forth and multiply like the viral bottom-feeders that you are. Peace, love, and viral happiness to you all.

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