Gangnam Style, Nyan Cat, Friday, Charlie Bit My Finger. These are some of the YouTube sensations that have gotten millions of views and captivated so many different people. But why did they become so famous? Why are they so well known now? Kevin Alloca discussed that very thought in a Ted Talk in 2012 that is still extremely relevant today. Here is a summary of his ideas about why certain YouTube videos go viral over others:
For many videos, they do not become viral right when they are posted on YouTube. Instead, they only become extremely large because of an outside force, usually a celebrity talking about the video. In the video, Kevin Allocca discusses the double rainbow video. The double rainbow video is a video that most people know about, however it did not spike in popularity until Jimmy Kimmel tweeted about it. Jimmy Kimmel has a much larger audience than the man’s YouTube channel, and therefore got many more people to watch the video. Tastemakers, celebrities, well known people in the world, make a large difference in how viral a video will be. The tastemakers do not even need to like the video to propel it to viral status. Another video Kevin Alloca discusses is Friday by Rebecca Black. That video did not become so well known until Tosh.0, a comedian, made fun of it on one of his shows. People wanted to see the video to see what he was making fun of, therefore increasing how many people watched the video.
Another huge aspect of YouTube videos is the participation of the audience. Kevin Alloca correctly brings up that YouTube is a social media site that needs participation, hence the comments section. Participation can go even further, through people making parody videos of a video. For example, the Nyan Cat phenomenon, an animation of a cat with looped music, was made into cats from different countries by parody accounts. These parodies brought about an even longer audience. The new viewers of the parody usually would go and look up the original post to see the video that brought about so many parodies. Embracing the participation of the community helps hugely in how viral your video will be.
Here is the original Nyan Cat video, as well as one of the parody videos:
People always love to watch weird videos that they would never have thought of before, as well as funny videos that are surprising. Videos that feel cliche, or old are videos that will probably not bring in as many views. This is probably the thing that is the most important, because if the video is not unexpected and new feeling, then the participation of the community will be lacking, and probably no taste maker is going to discuss it, unless it is cliche and not very good, and it is therefore used as a joke in a comedy skit. People upload so many YouTube videos a day, so it is extremely important to figure out a way to be unexpected and stand out in the crowd.
Here is the full Ted Talk if you wish to learn more about why videos go viral:
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