This Facebook post of a little puppy (who turns out be named Timmy) chained to a poll has received an unprecedented response from the people who Like our Facebook page. At the time I posted this, it was already at over 416K shares.
I certainly have not read all of the responses but three types of responses stood out in my mind: 1) totally agree that dogs should not be put on chains, 2) somewhat agree in principle but accept that sometimes a chain may be necessary, and 3) agree and think that the photo was staged. After several days, the photo’s authenticity is proven by a video posted to the comments and the puppy’s new “parent” subsequently posted a photo to Comments showing an older, happier Timmy “Living the Dream” (at the top of the page).
I think the post went viral because it tugs at the reader’s heart strings. People are suckers for babies, animals with human-like expressions, and baby animals. They also like to share posts about things they care about, but not all of them. Some times they are more likely to like a post rather than share; this happens if they are concerned about how sharing the post would reflect upon them.
Based on this experience and my personal research, I am going to experiment with Facebook posts that speak to sad realities that can be changed and which involve baby animals, kids, or women who are suffering because of our thoughtlessness, waste or laziness. People it seems are much more likely to share something if it is likely to have wide appeal, and most people agree that thoughtlessness, waste and laziness are not desirable.
If you happen to try this, please let me know how it works for you.