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Does the thought of going “viral” sound exciting – or does it make you recoil? It turns out that fewer than 1 in 5 American adults would like to become viral on social media or famous on the news for a short time, according to a recent YouGov survey. The results indicate that men (22%) would be significantly more apt than women (15%) to welcome the attention.

Somewhat predictably, there’s a strong age skew in the findings, too.

More than one-third (36%) of respondents ages 18-24 would somewhat (19%) or definitely (17%) like to go viral. That sentiment decreases with each progressive age bracket, from 28% of 25-34-year-olds down to just 8% of those ages 55 and older.

But before you go too far with the narcissistic Millennial stereotype, it’s worth noting that almost half of the youngest adults (18-24) would not want to go viral.

There also appears to be a linkage between income and desire to go viral, though it’s not as strong. One in 5 adults with income under $40k would like to do so, compared to 16% of those with income greater than $80k.

Interestingly enough, YouGov suggests that it might be the medium (social media, in this case) that causes some reticence. Citing results from a survey it fielded in late 2016, the analysts reveal that fully 53% of adults surveyed then would like being slightly famous.

The appetite for fame differed from the appeal of virality in another way: higher-income respondents (60%) in that earlier survey were actually more likely to want to be slightly famous than lower-income respondents (46%).

Once again, though, it was men who desired fame at a greater rate than women (57% and 48%, respectively). The survey did not offer a breakdown by age.

The problem with going viral, of course, is doing it for the wrong reason. A survey published in 2013 found that 1 in 5 US social media users had posted something on a social media site that could someday negatively affect an employer’s decision on whether to hire them for a job or allow them to stay at an existing job were they to see it. A number of those respondents had removed the burdensome content, and many regretted it.

One can only assume that the number of social media users regretting some posts has only risen since then alongside increased social media use…

About the Data: The YouGov data regarding going viral is based on a survey of 15,571 US adults conducted in December 2017. Results were weighted to be representative of the US population.

The YouGov data concerning desire for fame is based on a survey of 1,331 US adults conducted in December 2016.

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