Infectious media

April-27-12

Why certain videos go viral

Nowadays, anyone can become an Internet celebrity overnight, just find a camera and upload a video to Youtube. But over 40 hours of video are uploaded on Youtube every MINUTE, that’s more competition than any talent show in the entire world.

So the question is, how do you compete with that? Why do certain videos go viral and are spread across social media sites and other platforms while other videos, who are just as good and original, get left behind in the dust. According to Kevin Alloca, Youtube’s trend manager, there are three specific factors that can instantly boost a video’s popularity and make it soar to stardom in just a few minutes.

Tastemakers
Tastemakers are people who introduce interesting things to a large audience, for example, a celebrity who shares a random video on his or her Twitter account. That random video’s link instantly appears in millions of people’s Twitter feeds and in a number of minutes, a video’s views can drastically increase. In other cases, groups of people like bloggers or members of certain communities can band together around a specific video and literally make it an overnight sensation.

Participation
In today’s social media world, participation is what brings us all together. By commenting or sharing a video, viewers then become part of a cultural phenomenon. We spread a video through other websites like Facebook or Twitter, we “remix” certain videos or mash them up with another, we make parodies of a video...All of these new videos fuel the original video’s popularity because people want to see what gave birth to the video that they just watched. These videos inspire creativity and that creativity gets spread all over the Internet. Just type the word “Nyan Cat” on Youtube and see the many different variations that sprouted from the original Pop Tart rainbow kitty. Kevin Alloca said it himself “We don’t just enjoy now, we participate”.

Unexpectedness
In the mass of videos that get uploaded every minute, only the ones that are truly unique stand out in the crowd. Humor is a good way to get a video to go viral. Funny and unexpected articles, pictures and videos, are what gets retweeted and liked on Facebook and Twitter more than any other type of media out there. Also, by using a more humoristic approach, some people can get across a more serious subject to a large audience that they would not have been able to reach otherwise.

In the end, what does it all amounts to?
All of these factors are the starting point of a new type of media and a new type of culture where anyone has the opportunity to upload a video to Youtube, but in the end, it’s the audience who determines the popularity of a video. No one has to green light your idea, no marketing specialist can tell you what will popular and what will be a flop and we all have some sort of ownership of our own pop culture. We decide what is worth watching and what is not and these characteristics will define the entertainment of tomorrow. 


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