Let’s talk about viral content on social media for a bit.
Over the past decade, a lot of people have been looking to the internet for their 10 seconds in the spotlight. Viral internet fame is pretty common and people have been going to increasingly extreme lengths to go viral. What do they do to achieve that end? The easier question to answer would be what wouldn’t they do?
Sifting through the world of viral and wannabe viral content can be pretty tough. It’s been increasingly difficult to identify real from fake, especially now. Since last May, Twitter has removed more than 70 million bot accounts at a rate of more than one million per day. This number is getting larger and there are still fake accounts pushing content to the masses.
But, real content has a certain authenticity that can only be marked by the unmistakable stamp of human stupidity. People love watching other people do stupid things, get hurt, get in trouble, etc. We’re lovely to each other like that. All in the name of making a splash on the internet that lasts the data equivalent of nanoseconds.
The top two benefits of social media marketing are increasing brand traffic and exposure. When that brand is you, special care — or lack thereof — must be taken.
Meet 27-year-old Nick Naydev. The global wellness industry is worth a staggering $3.7 trillion and there’s nothing that advertises wellness, pampering, and treating yourself like a going on a cruise. He and a group of his closest bros decided they were going to cruise together on Royal Carribean’s Symphony of the Sea, the new cruise liner that was just unveiled as the largest cruise ship in the world.
They were ready for a good time, so they got really drunk and decided they wanted to make a viral video. Rather than exploring any of the thousands of options the shiny new cruise ship has to offer, Naydev decided he’d jump ship. Literally. Still reeling from residual intoxication from the night before, Naydev had his buddies film him jumping from his 11th story stateroom into the shark-infested waters of the Bahamas. As we asked earlier, what wouldn’t someone do for their 10 seconds of fame in the internet limelight? Risk life and limb? That’s off the table.
Naydev was incredibly fortunate that the consequences of his viral stunt weren’t fatal. Around 69% of Americans are affected by lower back pain on a daily basis, which is exactly the injury Naydev sustained. From the height of the fall, impact compression of his spine from tailbone to neck made him barely able to walk for days after the jump. Afterward, he admitted that it was a foolish idea and that they just wanted to make a viral video.
“He’s jumped from those kinds of heights before, and we didn’t really care about the consequences with the cruise company. We just wanted to get a video of it and make it go viral,” said the guy filming Naydev’s jump.
They were certainly successful in making a viral video. The video has racked up a substantial amount of views and the story has been picked up by media and news outlets all over the world. People have been condemning his actions as irresponsible while others have been veritably saying YOLO.
Royal Carribean, however, was far from pleased. After being informed of Naydev’s jump, they sent out a small boat to retrieve him and once he was back on board, he and his friends were told to pack their bags and leave the ship. They were kicked off the cruise liner in the Bahamas and had to pay for their own airfare back home. Royal Carribean also banned all of them for life from any of their cruise liners.
“This was stupid and reckless behavior, and he and his companions have been banned from ever sailing with us again. We are exploring legal action,” Royal Carribean said.
Naydev knows what he did was dumb and hopes his story keeps other people from following in his footsteps. But, if there’s anything we know about viral footage on social media, it’s that people are more likely to imitate it than not. Like eating Tide Pods or the Bird Box challenge.
“I wouldn’t want anyone trying this because it is dangerous and a lot of things could go wrong,” said Naydev.
We’ll keep that in mind the next time we feel like wasting a perfectly good cruise on a couple internet views.