Going Viral: YouTube
“If you don't start somewhere, you'll never start.” ― Sean Klitzner
In February of 2005, Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim started YouTube in their garage. In October 2006 YouTube was purchased by Google. YouTube's revenue comes from advertising. Those are the basic facts. In my humble opinion, unless you've been living under a rock for the past seven years, you not only know about YouTube but you've looked at it more than once. Youtube videos include YouTub emovie trailers, YouTube music, MTV videos, YouTube funny videos, homemade videos, you name it you can find it on YouTube. From ants to how to skin a cat, there's a YouTube video for it.
In 1968 Andy Warhol said, "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes." It has come to mean to most people that everyone will, at some time, have their "fifteen minutes of fame". Thanks to YouTube that has happened and will continue to happen. Anyone can upload to YouTube and anyone can be discovered. Look at Justin Bieber (from a small town in Canada)...his Mom posted videos of him singing (in 2008) so friends and family could see...Usher and Justin Timberlake, among others, discovered his YouTube videos and before you know it, Justin was a singing sensation!
Justin Bieber's first YouTube video
Not everyone posting videos to YouTube winds up like Justin Bieber BUT there is now such a thing as "going viral" on YouTube. Wikipedia says videos went viral before YouTube but we're look at them because of YouTube. So, going viral on YouTube basically means one person shows a video on YouTube to another who shows it to another who shows it to more others, and its so good people keep sharing it. It then becomes so popular it seems everyone is watching it and you may even see it on the news or in newspapers. You're looking at a video with millions of views!
Now that we've laid the ground work, what kind of videos go viral and give their authors and/or performers their 'fifteen minutes' of fame? To the right is a video of a commercial that went viral.
Two of the top viral videos of 2011 include:
Videos that are on official lists aren't always the ones kids are watching. Remember way back in 2006, the Oogachaka Baby? Everybody was watching and sharing this video. I've posted it to the right to jog your memory. Back then we thought it was great and everyone was sharing it! Now, a live baby has taken it's place...the laughing baby.
But it is not all about babies. Its all about anything and everything. Having grandchildren keeps me up-to-date and what's going viral on YouTube. The next video is hysterical in it's own way. Its called "Sexy Sax Man Careless Whisper Prank feat. Sergio Flores". This young man plays his sax anywhere and everywhere mostly uninvited. With his sixties mullet he would attract attention but add to that his leather clothes and his saxaphone and he's on YouTube, with his video spreading (going viral) among young people.
Sexy Sax Careless Whisper
Call Me Maybe
This next one is a true phenomenon, its a song that's gone viral and has everybody doing videos about it. The song is "Call Me Maybe". It is sung by Canadian singer-song writer Carly Rae Jepsen. While this song is popular world-wide and has been sung by many other artists, EVERYONE on YouTube is trying to get their fifteen minutes of fame by 'doing' this one (also called a cover or parody)! They're not singing it or even trying to sing it, they're letting the original singer sing while they 'act' it out. There are tons of videos on YouTube doing this but I picked just a few to let you in on the craze....The Olympic Swimming Team, Army Soldiers in Afghanistan, the Harvard Baseball team, The 2012 Miss USA Contestants (with Donald Trump, Andy Cohen, and Guilliana Rancic), Steelers Training Camp 2012....the list goes on.
Have you ever posted a video to YouTube?
How to Go Viral
There are so many more and no one know what lies ahead. Sophia Grace and Rosie are a singing sensation singing everything from rap to jazz, all of their videos are already viral, Ryan Gosling breaks up a street fight, The Honey Badger, Lily's Disneyland Surprise...these are but a few of the viral videos with millions (yes, I said millions) of views.
Unlike writing, there is no set rules to make a video go viral although there are a few concepts to think about. If you want your video to go viral, funny is a good thing. If the video is funny and people can relate to it, it might catch on. You might try shocking, sometimes people will keep watching when they are shocked. Regardless of the content you really need to promote your video initially. Post links to your video on your blogs, email the link to your friends, and post it on your Facebook page. Remember to get your whole family to watch it and recommend it to their friends!
Here's a tip from "The Secret Strategies Behind Many "Viral" Videos", make sure the middle of your video has a great shot or is really interesting because the thumbnail representing your video is taken from the middle of your video. You want your thumbnail to be appealing so people will click on your video. A good title for your video is helpful too. Just like keywords can help on Hubpages, keywords can help your videos too. Remember, people search on Youtube just like the do on Google. Don't forget to provide good information in your introduction and when you assign tags to your video make sure they fit the video and will come up in a search. Always tell the truth though, adding words like fabulous and never-before-seen won't help if it isn't true. It just may get your video buried for life!
So you writers out there, come up with a clever video, go viral, and make lots of money while enjoying your fifteen minutes of fame, then get back to writing!
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