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Everyday there are thousands of videos which are shared on the internet. Hundreds and thousands of videos are shared everyday on websites such as YouTube, Vimeo and Daily Motion. Allocca (2012) talks on TED talk that there are over 48 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute. The chances of all of these videos becoming viral is very minimal. With hundreds and thousands of videos circulating around the internet every day, very few of them go viral on the internet. In the TED talk video that I watched, Allocca talks about the reasons these videos go viral. This paper examines Allocca’s TED talk about why videos go viral and discusses in-depth about tastemakers, communities of participation and unexpectedness that helps videos to go viral.
Tastemakers are people who influence the general public. These people could be celebrities, athletes or politicians. When these taste makers share videos on Twitter or Facebook, those videos are bound to go viral because of the many followers they have. A video of Paul Vasquez videotaping and marveling at a double rainbow at Yosemite National Park went viral due to tastemakers. Jimmy Kimmel, late night host, tweeted on his twitter about the video which made millions of people watch this video. Brown (2010) writes on his article how the “double rainbow” video blew up after Kimmel shared the video. As a result, CBS news and other news outlets interviewed Vasquez. This lead to the YouTube clip racking up more than 4.8 million views. As of today, the double rainbow video has more than 42 million views on YouTube. Vasquez, who is also known as Yosemite bear, shares day to day things around Yosemite National Park on his YouTube page, which only get 100 views. But when this video was shared by a tastemaker, the video just went viral out of nowhere. This is how tastemakers influence the general population and videos go viral.
The other element that plays huge role in making a video viral is the participation of the community. The internet has its own technology and geek culture, which creates a community within itself. The size of the community is different, but there are a few community that have millions of people all over internet with the same ideas and interests. When videos gain an interest of these community users, the videos are shared and circulated all over the internet and watched by millions of people. The video could be creative, funny or stupid, but it should be able to gain the interest of these communities who will then participate to make these videos go viral. When videos go viral, communities participate by creating similar videos or parodies which rockets the popularity of videos. One example of community participation is a video of Nyan Cat which got recreated by many people in English, Spanish, Japanese and dubstep. This creative video is a looped animation with looped music. What made it popular was the creativity of the community participation. Allocca says on his TED talk that creativity inspired the internet culture that made this video go viral. Hence the acceptance of creativity is important on the internet for a community to participate in videos resulting in viral videos.
The last element that Allocca talks about is unexpectedness. When something goes viral on the internet, it slowly disappears in a few months. People no longer like the same old fashioned videos or posts. When something unexpected appears on the internet, the video goes viral. One of the unexpected videos that is circulating the internet right now is “Damn, Daniel”. Scott (2016) writes in his article that “Damn, Daniel” is an edited collection of Snapchat videos. They are posted by a kid named Josh who says in a funny voice, “damn, Daniel!” while he admires his friend’s shoes. Internet culture and communities had never seen something like this. This made this video a new trend for people to follow and love. This video features Josh Holz, 15, and Daniel Lara, 14. It had 40 million views in a single day.
Any video does not simply go viral. The three elements that lead to a viral video are tastemakers, participation of the community and unexpectedness. Millions of videos are circulating all over the internet. The viral ones includes these elements. The Double Rainbow video by Yosemite bear was on the internet for a long time before Jimmy Kimmel tweeted about the video. “Damn, Daniel” was an unexpected new trend. The continuously looping Nyan Cat was very creative and people participated in some ways to make that video go viral. People can do parodies. These videos are surprisingly funny and famous. The community circulates them around and the internet loves to make it famous. This certainly is taking the entertainment business to a different path in the future.
The common thing about these videos were that these videos were funny, creative, and humorous. They were also not too long for viewers to watch. People on the internet are used to these types of videos. Most of the viral videos have the same things in common. This is what the internet is expecting and learning to do. This will shape a different path for the entertainment business in the future. The popular application Vine was a result of this internet culture. Videos shared on Vine go viral for months. These videos make people famous for a certain time and people love being famous. As long as people have elements that make the video go viral, there is a higher chance that these videos will go viral. It does not matter how long these videos are up and only noticed by a few hundred people.
Scott, N. (2016, February 22). The ‘Damn, Daniel’ meme, explained. Retrieved February 26, 2016, from http://ftw.usatoday.com/2016/02/what-is-damn-daniel-meme-explained
Nyan Cat and Keyboard Cat creators sue Warner Bros – BBC News. (2013, May 3). Retrieved February 26, 2016, from http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-22397446
Brown, D. (2010, July 16). How the ‘double rainbow’ video blew up. Retrieved February 26, 2016, from http://www.cnn.com/2010/TECH/web/07/14/double.rainbows/
Allocca, K. (2012, February). Transcript of “Why videos go viral” Retrieved February 26, 2016, from https://www.ted.com/talks/kevin_allocca_why_videos_go_viral/transcript?language=en