Thomas Weber from the Daily Beast, asks how hard it might be to game the most venerable of lists, the most emailed from NYT. And answers in great detail about how his ‘troops’ flashmob the site and elevate the importance of three week old article in the science pages of the Times.
How we did it—and how many people it took— reinforces a lesson of our viral media age: Even at the biggest newspaper website in the world, the content that is spotlighted as most engaging reflects the judgment of a group far smaller than the overall audience, and can even be gamed by those motivated enough to do so.
Popularity, of course, is a considered a key metric of the information age. From entertainers courting the spotlight to entrepreneurs who want publicity for their ventures—and don’t forget journalists slaving away at their keyboards—”going viral” is a cherished goal. Exposure begets more exposure.