How Much Is a Viral Tweet Worth? [Content Made Simple]

Issue #209: How to build a video content strategy, and recovering friendship from social media.


Going viral on Twitter feels good, but it doesn’t pay



I’ve always wondered what a viral tweet is worth, because it’s an interesting way to think about what social media is worth — and what we hope for when we post. On the one hand, social media creates a tremendous amount of value. Twitter pulled in $3.46 billion last year, mostly by selling adsIt boasts 330 million active monthly users and an astonishing 145 million daily users (myself included). It’s a tempting target for advertisers.

But on the other hand, all that money goes to Twitter, not its users, despite the fact that it’s the creators who tweet those hilarious takes and memes that keep us so hooked. To make money from their viral tweets, creators have to look to other sources of revenue. Some creators link to shops to monetize their followings. Others court brand sponsorships. Accumulating a large following can lead to money or employment down the road.


I found this article super interesting! Working in social media and online content for a number of years, I can’t count the number of times I’ve been asked to make something “go viral,” and I know a lot of other social media managers have had the same experience! It turns out that, on Twitter, going viral isn’t probably worth whatever it takes to make it happen!


The Facebook Group Where It’s Always 2009

2009 is our topic this week as we rate the year and discuss a recent article in Huck about a Facebook group where they live in the past. 


Link #1: We Must Reclaim Friendship From the Bonds of Social Media

Something I wrote for the paid subscribers to this newsletter last Friday.

The sacrificial love upon which real friendships are built is incredibly difficult to enact on the internet. This is why incarnational, real life friendships are so superior to online friendships. A friend you meet in a Facebook book club can make good conversation, but he can’t come help you change a tire. A friend you make in the Instagram comment section of your favorite influencer can give you the best makeup tips, but she can’t be by your side when you endure real tragedy and your tears are making your mascara messy. All of this is to say: making online friendships isn’t wrong, but there is a sort of “ceiling” to them that cannot be crossed without regular offline interaction.

Link #2: “Stuck Inside My Phone:” Four Social Media Managers On Working During the Pandemic

This was a tough read, but I think a helpful one. Any social media managers here who have felt the squeeze during the pandemic will appreciate.

Admittedly, being a social media manager during this time has been one of the hardest points of my career so far. The struggle to balance being always on with a toxic work environment, the restrictions due to COVID, and then personal issues have really affected my mental health.

It’s even more challenging when you aren’t appreciated at work and constantly told how bad you are doing and how much needs to improve while simultaneously ignoring the positive and good things done during this time. 

Link #3: The Influential Online Space Churches Are Ignoring

Last Monday I had a piece at Lifeway Research about the popularity of online video content and how churches and other ministries can seize this phenomenon.

Video is dominating the internet, especially in its most social spaces. Why do people love video? For many, video is more compelling and holds attention better than a wall of text.

Why do 27% of American adults not read a single book in a year? Because watching their favorite crime-solvers on TV or their favorite documentaries on Netflix are more entertaining to them than a mystery novel or a biography they may buy.

Reading, whether online or on paper, requires a certain amount of attention and mental function that reclining in an easy chair and watching a TV show or YouTube video doesn’t require. It makes sense.

Today we find ourselves in a media context in which social media and video dominate the time of young and old Americans alike. This means it is no surprise that some of the most recognizable and influential people in the lives of American young people are professional YouTubers or Twitch streamers.


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