This Is How to Write a Viral Essay on Medium, According to AI

Sarah Cottrell
5 min readDec 19, 2022

How do you write a viral essay? That’s the million-dollar question, and it seems everyone thinks there is some hidden secret to it. But there isn’t. Writing goes viral because it has something everyone wants; a solution to a problem or novelty value. Those are the two most important things you can use to launch an article into the realm of viral.

But now that AI is here; many writers have begun to wring their hands in frustration and fear that they won’t be able to compete with a machine like Chat GPT that can spit out a pitch-perfect essay in seconds. There has been a lot of chatter on social media about how this dazzling (and potentially scary) tool will ruin everything and replace our jobs as content creators. Kai-Fu Lee, who used to work on AI development for Google and Microsoft, told CBS’s 60 Minutes in a white-knuckle interview that he is confident that AI will replace 40% of the global workforce within the next 15 years.

Call me a skeptic, but that is, at most, an exaggeration. At worst, it would upend civilization if nearly half the global workforce gets a pink slip. How would people survive without work? And if roughly half the world’s workforce is suddenly unemployed, who do these technocrats think will purchase or even have access to use their wares—let alone eat? It doesn’t make sense. Perhaps the workforce as we know it today will be replaced with new jobs we can’t yet imagine. Just look at the last 25 years of innovation to see what I mean. There are plenty of examples of how technological progress has reshaped how and where we work.

This same rush to paranoia is here on Medium too. Not a day goes by that my feed isn’t jammed with posts from writers who are worried that Chat GPT or other AI machines will destroy creativity and writing as we know it.

But will it? Probably not.

AI will do to everything (including writing and art) what the camera did when that was invented. You no longer needed a skilled painter to create portraits when you could snap a picture and have a near-perfect image of a moment.

The camera profoundly impacted the world in several ways; it changed how we document and remember events, people, and places. And it made it possible to capture and share images with others in previously unimaginable ways.

And sure, it has also had a significant impact on the fields of art, journalism, and…

Sarah Cottrell

Writer + Editor | Slow Living + Science Nerd | Rep’d by Folio Lit | Follow my stories here: