I think chasing the viral article is a waste of time. Sometimes there is no logic to what becomes popular. I don't think you can force it (unless you are famous.)
I have an article that did nothing for 10 months then it took off and has been getting steady reads in the double digits daily since June. It is now my most popular story (Fans.) Why? I have no clue.
I have another article that started slow and then picked up speed and has been steady getting reads for two years now with 16k views and 10.2k reads at this date. Why? I have no clue. It is nothing special, in my opinion. It is about audio sound quality, for crying out loud!
I also think the trolls love to criticize popular stories because it exposes their evil to a larger audience. And they crave the attention.
Congratulations, by the way. That's a big number.