Going viral

Planit Agency
April 1, 2014

I fully admit: I am a lover of a good YouTube video. I frequently scan through my Facebook newsfeed and hunt around on BuzzFeed in search of that one entertaining clip. More often than not, the videos I come across are the ones that have been shared dozens of times—the ones that I see all over social media. These are the videos that have gone viral. According to YouTube, there are 100 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute. And every month, there are over 6 BILLION hours of video being watched on YouTube. So how do these videos get so many views so quickly? It’s because of the viewers and the influencers. Who are these people, and what role do they have in a video’s viral status? Viewers are your average Joes, like you or me, who simply search for, watch, and share videos with their limited circle of family and friends via social media. The influencers are the top dogs; if these people share a video, it’s going to reach thousands, sometimes millions, of people within minutes. Viral status is virtually guaranteed. Let’s take a look at some of YouTube’s top influencers like Jimmy Kimmel and Ellen DeGeneres; they’re examples of influencers who have the power to make a video go viral in seconds. More often than not, the videos they share have already earned thousands of views by everyday viewers; but even with hundreds of thousands of views, a video hasn’t gone viral until it hits at least a million views. Ellen DeGeneres is one of my favorite YouTube influencers. She frequently shares funny videos with her studio audience and then invites the star(s) of the video onto her talk show. Ellen, like most of us regular viewers, shares a lot of cute kid videos. Most of which are simply hilarious. Here’s a look at one of the recent videos she has shared (the original video can be found here). At this point, not only has Ellen fallen in love with the video—so has her audience. Jimmy Kimmel is another great example of contributing to videos going viral. Kimmel is unique, however, in that he creates his own viral videos. For special occasions he likes to ask his viewers and fans to pull a prank on their children and film their reactions. For the past two Halloweens (2012 and 2013), Kimmel challenged parents to tell their kids they ate all of the kids’ Halloween candy. Jimmy didn’t hesitate to do a similar challenge during the 2011 and 2012 Christmas seasons, daring parents to give their kids a terrible Christmas present. But how do the influencers see these videos? That’s because of us, the viewers. The viewers are the ones who determine the initial popularity of the video. Viral videos result in the viewers becoming a part of a phenomenon. The audiences of these popular videos participate in the phenomenon by sharing the video, and to take it a step further, some create remakes of the videos. How many times have you seen a remake of “Charlie Bit My Finger”? I mean, let’s be honest: You’re probably guilty of your own remake, whether you filmed it or not. Another category of YouTube users worth noting is well-known brands, which fit somewhere between the influencers and the everyday viewers. Dove produced a video last April, “Dove Real Beauty Sketches,” that currently has more than 62 million views. This video is not only inspiring, but it captures a powerful, feel-good message that is shareable. Not every video a brand produces on YouTube goes viral, but some do. There are so many different kinds of viral videos we see. There’s always the classic song category, including parodies and original songs. I’m sure everyone remembers “What Does The Fox Say” and “The Harlem Shake.” Marriage proposals also make for some fun sharing. And we can’t forget the classic “epic fail” videos or the awkward cat clips. Personally, I favor any video that will give me a good laugh. Here’s my (very small) list of memorable clips: Evolution of Dance David After Dentist Sneezing Panda Miss Teen South Carolina Pumpcast News Hey Jude OMG Shoes (salty language) Dramatic Chipmunk Hair Tutorial Gone Wrong Even after seeing some of these videos dozens of times, they will always be entertaining. I could go on for hours talking about the hundreds of videos I love. What’s your favorite viral video?