Here’s why videos go viral
BY ALANA HARTLEY
OU News Bureau
It’s no secret that the Internet has changed the way information spreads. Now, virtually anyone can post their ideas and creations on the web for all to see.
Kevin Allocca, the trends manager for YouTube, gave a TED talk in November 2011 that was posted on NPR’s Tumblr site. He discussed how and why videos become popular.
“Web video has made it so that any of us can become completely famous,” Allocca said.
More than two days’ worth of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute, he said. Only a very small percent of these videos go “viral.”
A viral video is one that has been viewed more than 1 million times. What causes a video to become so popular? Allocca named three factors:
- Communities of participation
“Tastemakers” are defined by Allocca as people who “introduce us to new and interesting things and bring them to a larger audience.”
Tastemakers such as celebrities play a vital role in a video becoming a viral sensation.
With one tweet, Jimmy Kimmel caused the number of views of the “Double Rainbow” video to skyrocket. This video was posted on YouTube in January 2010 but didn’t become viral until Kimmel tweeted about it in July of the same year.
Another video that became famous, thanks to a celebrity, was Rebecca Black’s “Friday.”
Daniel Tosh, host of the Comedy Central show “Tosh.0,” talked about Black’s video on his show and the video began appearing on blogs. “Friday” now has more than 30 million views.
Communities of Participation
Once Black’s “Friday” went viral, parodies and remakes started popping up. The makers of these other videos are part of the video’s “community of participation,” as Allocca called it.
When a video becomes popular, the viewers of that video become part of the phenomenon. This group of people talks about the video and spreads the word and the community of participation grows.
“We don’t just enjoy now, we participate,” Allocca said.
A video that is surprising and humorous, he explained, has the potential to become viral.
One example is the video “Bike lanes” by a New Yorker named Casey Neistat. In his video, Neistat wants to show why he was wrongfully given a ticket for riding a bicycle outside the bike lane.
By using the element of unexpectedness and adding in some humor, Neistat’s video went viral and has more than 5 million views.
The entertainment of the future
With the advent of YouTube, Twitter, and other social media sites, information and ideas spread far faster nowadays.
Videos that “seem to have sprouted up out of nowhere” have the potential for becoming viral sensations, he said.
These characteristics cannot be found in the media of the past.
According to Allocca, these are “characteristics of a new kind of media in a new kind of culture, where anyone has access and the audience defines the popularity.”
In a time when stars such as Justin Bieber got their start on YouTube, one might say that anything is possible.
The spreading of videos, ideas and information like wildfire, along with the characteristics of today’s new media, “will define the entertainment of the future,” Allocca said.
Short URL: http://www.ounewsbureau.com/?p=2748