Do you know how many companies tried to get something to go "viral" in 2017?

The answer is a lot. But most of them didn't. The idea of going viral is something that you can't force, it just happens. Something goes viral online when people are instantly drawn to it, for whatever reason, and it grows organically. People see it, share it, tell people about it, push it forward...basically the power to make something go viral is in the hands of the people who use the internet.

So how do stories go viral locally? Well, we kept track of the big ones, but we really don't have a good way to measure them against each other, so we're going to sort these without numbers/ranks. Just a big viral mess. Here we go:

The Hustler Club Billboard

The way I explained "viral" above, fits this story. Larry Flynt's Hustler Club in Downtown Shreveport has had billboards up around town for years, virtually without incident. However this year, when featured dancer Rachel Starr appeared on a billboard for the club, it sparked outrage. Including an online petition to have some form of government take it down.

The story blew up online, and actually got a second-wind when the club put up a Toy Drive billboard in a joking manner.   

Gatti Blackface

We all have done things in our past we are not particularly proud of. Most of us don't have things that could be considered severely racist in our history. But those things probably wouldn't become public unless we did something like, I don't know, run for State Representative?

Rapper Arrested For Rape In Shreveport

via Caddo Sheriff's Office

When a headline including a national celebrity and a heinous crime hits, it's likely to catch some attention. When it happens in your city, you know it's about to go viral.

Crump Placed On Leave

Photo: KEEL, Thomas

This was a viral slow-burn. The initial story caught so many people off-guard, they didn't know how to react. But once they started to ask questions, it really took off. Plus, to be honest, a lot of those questions have yet to be answered. But the heat on this story has pretty much faded.

The Old Navy Creeper

Trisha Ahmu Howell via Facebook

Russell Cole Harty's face was one of the most famous faces in the Ark-La-Tex for a solid week in July of this year. The story behind him and his behavior was pretty messed up, and the whole internet (at least in the Ark-La-Tex) seemed to agree.

Using The Courthouse Lawn Like a Bathroom

This video can really speak for itself.

Yes, it's exactly what it looks like it is too.

The Wine Bottle Smuggler 

It was like Supermarket Sweep, but in a Thrifty Liquor...and instead of a shopping cart, it was her pants...and instead of a game show, it was real life. Which also meant her prize was getting arrested.

Shreveport Officer Fights a Guy Outside Brookshire's

Shreveport police

It went viral in two different ways. People couldn't believe what they were seeing, and others thought it was the greatest thing ever. It didn't really matter how you felt, your probably shared it, or commented on it.

They Took Down The Godzilla Sign


It was a local legend. The Godzilla sign found a home in Downtown Shreveport for the last few years. However in 2017, the DOTD decided it was time to take it down. Apparently it created some liability it had to come down.

But the good new is, the sign was saved from a dumpster. The KEEL staff actually stepped in, and took ownership of the sign. Only rule is, it can't ever make it's way back out onto the Shreveport streets. Which is fine, because it has a safe home in the KEEL studio.

Halloween Blackface


Well...two blackface stories in one year. That should be out quota for the next decade (hopefully). But this one was a little more, well, smudgy. Multiple pictures of a local Halloween costume circulated online in very early November. Some appeared to show a man with legit blackface on as part of his Halloween costume, others images showed less blackface, and more eye-black.

Part of the story said it involved "Just For Men" on facial hair, and some internet detectives suggested that product could have smudged throughout the night to make the appearance that blackface was being used. As everyone tried to investigate, defend, criticize, and just talk about it, it kept getting shared. Making it one of the most viral stories of the year.

Michael Turney Breaks Shreveport's Internet

This was amazing. Local "modeling agent" Michael Turney took to social media to attack some local models, and a local publication for a picture they published. After the initial backlash, he began the process of personally responding to every social media post about him. He seemed totally oblivious to his contradictions and appeared to be tone-deaf in multiple posts.

But the posts, comments, shares, and screenshots kept rolling. Hours went by, days went by, weeks turned into months of it. Because to this day, he still checks in on his posts, or posts about himself, and starts commenting all over again.