Why the Viral Story Behind Star Trek Went So….Viral

Viral Story Behind Star Trek

Have you heard the viral story behind Star Trek? Let’s be honest; even the mere mention of the word “viral” is nauseating but trust me, this one is worth it.

At the same time, have you noticed that we still love nothing more than consuming viral content? According to¬†recent studies, viral content can create a state of “high arousal” in us human beings.

And why am I saying any of this?

Well, this is the cheap answer to why the viral story behind Star Trek was so popular – Because we love viral stories.

But WAIT, the real story behind Star Trek will blow your mind…

The Actual Viral Story Behind Star Trek

In case you might not know, Star Trek is a science fiction series which first aired on American television screens back in 1966. In recent years, two movies were made about Star Trek but the original pilot was created by a man named Gene Roddenberry.


You may not have heard this name before but trust me already, the story is a real treat!

As it happens, twenty years before the emergence of Star Trek, an incredible plane disaster inspired Roddenberry to create one of the most popular television series of all time.

In the Oatmeal, a webcomic and humour site, this story was illustrated using a beautiful series of cartoon images. The sketches went viral and more than 10 million people had read this article within just a couple of days.

But why did it take seventy years for the viral story behind Star Trek to become so important?

Pan AM Flight

Why the Story Behind Star Trek Went Viral

You see, in this disaster, the plane caught fire and the pilots believed that everyone was going to die. Harsh, but true. However, in the midst of all the chaos, the youngest of these two pilots decided to walk down the aisle and reassure his passengers that everything was going to be okay. Again, the young pilot was certain that the plane would crash but he chose this moment to reassure the people around him.

When the plane eventually crashed in a desert in Syria, some passengers survived the initial impact. And even though this young pilot suffered a broken rib, he still managed to overcome his own trauma and run back into the plane to help survivors.

It’s a heroic story but still, why did it become such a viral sensation?

Viral Story Behind Star Trek

The Underlying Message Behind this Viral Story

Well, the series of cartoon images in the Oatmeal are fantastic. But there was also something subtle, yet extremely powerful about how this story was told. That is to say, the story is inspirational, but the response from this young pilot was truly meaningful.

In other words, in the face of certain death, we witness an unconditional show of humanity. After all, the passengers on the Pan Am flight were helpless but the young pilot sought to help them and ignore his own fears and well being in the process.

What’s more, the purpose of the comic strip became clear in the very final sentence and it resonated with every last person who read it – “So get up, and help someone”.

So you see, the story behind Star Trek went viral because of sheer empathy.

And who was this young pilot exactly? It was Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek.


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