Virality rules the social media world these days. It doesn't matter if it's something stupid or something important. A memorable five-second clip is more important than a year's worth of effort.
Don't believe me? Just consider Tuesday night's sports coverage.
In perhaps the most stunning moment of the MLB season, which started in March and is currently in its most important stage, the Tampa Bay Rays chased AL Cy Young favorite Justin Verlander after only four innings and beat the Astros, pushing the best team in baseball (based on regular-season record) to the brink of elimination with a decisive Game 5 to come on Thursday.
But maybe you missed it and had no idea there was a baseball game last night. That's not surprising, because if you, like me, scrolled Twitter this morning, all anyone was talking about was Ben Simmons hitting a meaningless 3-pointer in a meaningless preseason game. Sure, you can say it's not meaningless because it was his first three as a pro, but let's get real. It's the preseason. And guess what, even Shaq hit threes occasionally.
And yet, if you look at the social accounts of ESPN, Bleacher Report, and the other big players in the sports media game, the most shared posts from last night were of Simmons hitting a three that won't even count in his career stats. Hell, Bleacher Report even made a special video about it. The Rays didn't get the same treatment after beating the World Series favorites to even their series after facing a 2-0 series deficit.
Social media reactions don't dictate a true level of caring or interest from the general population. But when your sports editing co-workers come in talking about Ben Simmons and not the Rays-Astros series, you know something's up.
The MLB playoffs haven't created a viral moment thus far, unless you include the Rays concession guy doing cartwheels on the field, which I do not. Meanwhile, on the field, athletes who have been training for an entire season for this moment are performing in the clutch, which, no offense to Simmons, is more important than one meaningless (lucky?) shot.