The presentation of Kevin Alloca on viral videos is very elucidating. The ability of a video becoming a viral phenomenon is attributed to several factors. The first instance in the process is for a tastemaker, be it a friend or a famous personality, to personally endorse the entertainment value of said video. The second phase is community participation. The amount of people that view a video, comment about it and/or create companion material relates to the works popularity. The third and final phase is an artifact’s unexpectedness. Whether it is humorous, has value as being informally educational or has replay value is the contributing factor in a video being unique and watchable by millions. There are several videos that are considered to be viral worthy.
The first, as presented in the TED video, is of the infamous Nyan Cat. It is a repetitious flash animation of a cartoon cat with a Pop-Tart body leaving a rainbow jet stream behind it. This example is explicitly described as having the three components of a successful viral video. In April 2011, the video was released on the popular website College Humor and G4 television. After being viewed repeatedly for its humorous content, the video was extended to a three hour variant. Further improvements by fans included region specific variants including Japan, Mexico, Russia and France.
The second example is of the recent Kony 2012 video that circulated in March of 2012. The footage depicts the atrocities of Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army as it conscripted children to fight it’s battle against the Ugandan government. The video gained such acclaim that celebrities such as George Clooney and Angelina Jolie became tastemakers and university students became the driving force behind the word of mouth marketing campaign. The 86 million people that viewed it on YouTube and the 1.6 million that viewed it on Vimeo, launched awareness campaigns including Cover the Night, an event that drew thousands of high school and college aged students across the U.S. and Canada.
The third video that can be considered a viral phenomenon is “Why I hate religion, but love Jesus”. This production was created by a young evangelist from Mars Hill, Washington and has thus far received over 16 million views. The presentation is of the creator reciting a poem about the lost message of the gospel and how it is distorted by dogma and church doctrine. Since its circulation in January 2012, the video has also become a word of mouth sensation. Other religious groups, such as a Catholic videographer as well as a Muslim religious student, facilitating discussion about the role of Jesus/Joshua/Isa, have reinterpreted its message.
When understanding the effects of viral videos one must see the importance of a good vehicle for distributing your idea. Today’s file sharing sites can offer a platform that was almost previously unheard of. Anyone can now create and upload their content for other people’s thoughts and opinions. There also must be the potential for one’s audience to voice their opinion and also make contributory material for your project. By viewing the empirical evidence of the most successful videos the creator can foster a sense of community.