Slate Fare

Slate’s Most Viral Stories of 2014

See what our most popular stories were on Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit this year.

John Travolta, Kenan Thompson, a potato salad, and Ellen Page
You never know what will go viral.

Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Kevin Winter/Getty Images; Michael Buckner/Getty Images; Thinkstock; Jason Kempin/Getty Images.

It’s hard to say exactly what makes a story go viral. Every year, we take a look back at which Slate pieces were the most popular on our three strongest social networks: Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit. The results are always a bit surprising. As you can see in the lists below, there’s not much overlap. Just because a story does well on Facebook, doesn’t mean that readers on Reddit will also find it interesting. Many of our most popular stories on Twitter this year were news-related while a few classic Slate stories from years past found new life on Facebook and Reddit. The only overlap on these lists came from our most-viral piece ever, the Adele Dazeem name generator, inspired by John Travolta’s Oscars gaffe. I suppose that wanting to Travoltify your name is just universal.



5. “Stop Dumping Ice on Your Head. Just Give Money.
By Will Oremus, Aug. 12, 2014

4. “Two Spaces After a Period: Why You Should Never, Ever Do It
By Farhad Manjoo, Jan. 12, 2011

3. “Rob Lowe on Sending His Son Off to College
By Rob Lowe, May 5, 2014

2. “My ’70s Health-Nut Parents Didn’t Vaccinate Me. This Is What My Childhood Was Like.
By Amy Parker, Jan. 6, 2014

1. “Now You Can Generate Your Own Travoltified Name, Like ‘Adele Dazeem
By Jim Festante and Chris Kirk, March 3, 2014


5. “Who’s to Blame for the Collapse of Manchester United?
By Ken Early, March 28, 2014

4. “Kansas’ Anti-Gay Segregation Bill Is an Abomination
By Mark Joseph Stern, Feb. 13, 2014


3. “Watch Ellen Page’s Touching Coming-Out Speech
By Dan Kois, Feb. 14, 2014

2. “That ‘Distressed Baby’ Who Tim Armstrong Blamed for AOL Benefit Cuts? She’s My Daughter.
By Deanna Fei, Feb. 9, 2014

1. “Now You Can Generate Your Own Travoltified Name, Like ‘Adele Dazeem
By Jim Festante and Chris Kirk, March 3, 2014


5. “Hollywood’s Copyright Lobbyists Are Like Exes Who Won’t Give Up
By Marvin Ammori, March 10, 2014

4. “Man Raises $10,000 on Kickstarter to Make a Bowl of Potato Salad (Update: Make That $40,000)
By Jordan Weissmann, July 7, 2014

3. “Stephen Colbert Talks About How The Colbert Report Is Made
By David Plotz, Oct. 16, 2014

2. “Why Saturday Night Live Writers Lean on Kenan Thompson
By Bryan Tucker, March 25, 2014

1. “My Husband’s Other Wife: She Died, So I Could Find the Man I Love
By Emily Yoffe, June 16, 2009