A Re-Frame on Going Viral – a poet’s perspective
Image credit BBC Trending
From a deeply wise friend and mindfulness teacher, Preetum Shenoy, this zanily insightful poem about how “going viral” has come to mean very, very different things, all at once.
Going Viral: From Evolution Towards Revolution
When I was younger, “going viral”
Was not at all desirable
Back then cases of chickenpox, flu or cold
Would make people go tribal
And isolate to maximize survival.
And then in the past decade or two,
With the adoption of
Social media, out of the blue
“Going viral” took on a newer
More benign meaning,
No longer something to be feared, but
To be glorified, celebrated even!
Whether posts crafted out of pure vanity
Or those shared for their profanity
Or even outright insanity;
An avalanche of ideas, memes,
Cat vids and weird pipe dreams
Started parading into our collective consciousness
Shifting the notion and acceptance
of what it means to go viral.
And now, in 2020, we find ourselves
At yet another inflection,
Due in large part to the mass spread
Of the COVID-19 infection.
Now the term “viral” incites cringes and fear,
And is even shifting preferences away
From a once popular Mexican beer.
Which under the circumstances,
I suppose is far more clear.
But upon further reflection,
I wonder whether with more awareness
And collective conviction,
We can harness this moment and
Initiate a revival of what it means to
“Go Viral” in these times
Where connection is so vital?
While we focus on containing
One viral contagion through distancing, quarantine
and of course good hygiene;
Can we also all band together
To do our part
To unleash another contagion
Of practices from the heart?
While Fear, Anxiety and Pathogens
May be infectious,
Remember that so can Love, Connection,
Compassion, and [not-so] Random acts of Kindness.
So the next time you wanna fire up TikTok,
Maybe instead of copycat dance moves,
Can we help inspire and spread kindness
‘Round the clock, ‘round the globe,
from wherever you are,
And whatever your means or talents.
Whether it’s a poem, piece of art,
positive thought, cute pet / kid vid
Or offer of service,
While still maintaining distance?
When we Retweet or Forward
Or Post a Highlight
Can we use the opportunity
To place a spotlight
On what we’re all doing
To show we’re more connected,
More human, more united
On the front of this global fight?
May this spur on the Latest Evolution of “Going Viral” to a Global Revolution to #SpreadMoreGood:
From inciting fear to inspiring cheer.
From propagating vanity, profanity, insanity to
Elevating up and amplifying our shared humanity.
So that we may not only survive, but thrive
For many more decades and centuries to come.
May it be possible, may it be so.