Viral Challenge – Prep School: Talking Trash

Find my article here.

Strategy:

For this article, I wanted to take my specific experience at prep school – a desirable platform for discussion given the exclusivity and wealth people associate with it – and use it to make a larger argument about a profound problem I see with our reality. I made my article controversial by challenging an institution – prep school, or Phillips Exeter Academy more specifically – understood by many as an ideal for secondary education. My post, then, fulfills the desire of the online reader both to avoid missing out and to learn something from the data they consume: in this case, I provide an inside look at a place shrouded in mystery. The negativity of the emotional tone, beginning with my unique title and continuing throughout my article, also gives it a greater chance of going viral. In addition, the timing of my article’s release coincides with a very recent prep school sex scandalwhich will automatically boost interest in the topic.

         I would begin by sharing my article with friends who attended Exeter or any prep school on Facebook and Twitter, and also by sending it over the Exeter alumni network. This guarantees my article a large readership, as I expect it will provoke fierce reactions and subsequent debates about the merits of Exeter and of prep school as a broader institution. I would also submit my article to The Atlantic and The Huffington Post, as my article is both thought-provoking and tangential to the Deerfield Academy debacle that is currently making headlines. The desirable exclusivity of prep school, combined with the controversy my article is likely to spur, and the timing of the its appearance, make my post a likely candidate for going viral.

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