This is the VIRAL series, and we’re looking closely at something that permeates most of our internet culture: viral content. Videos, memes, tweets, graphics, these can take over our online experience and change our minds, culture, elections, or just make us collectively laugh. Things that go viral on the internet can have real power.
Morgan Shanahan was born and raised in Southern California, so it's no surprise that she took up filmmaking. It was a childhood game show that awarded her with her first video camera, and an obsession with the 1994 movie Reality Bites that made NYU film school a natural path.
Landing back in L.A. after college, she was writing scripts and commercials and longing for a more personal outlet. She started the blog The 818 (a nod to the San Fernando Valley's area code) and her vulnerable posts about marriage and new motherhood made it a hit among the more "Pinterest-perfect" blogs that were popping up.
Her success as a blogger and her innate talent at social media and internet culture opened an opportunity at one of the biggest viral media giants in the world: Buzzfeed. As the parenting editor and now parenting video producer, Morgan reaches millions of people every single day with her creative content.
In our conversation, we talk about what makes something go viral on the internet, what you should really be analyzing in terms of numbers, and what it's like to work somewhere that counts clicks by the BILLION.
The book Morgan chose that made an impact on her life: