In todays society it is easier than ever for someone to be famous. With reality television shows, blogs, and Youtube the average person is becoming a celebrity over night.
Youtube is the biggest catalyst for this recent wave of overnight celebrities. Todd Wasserman, masable.com writer, reports that Youtube streams 4 billion online videos each day, more than one for every other person on Earth and a 25% jump over eight months ago. According to Reuters, about 60 hours of video are now added to the site every minute and the average user spends about 15 to 25 minutes on Youtube a day.
If you want to make a video go viral, you have to use Youtube. However there is 48 hours of video uploaded to Youtube every minute, only a select few go viral and become a cultural moment. So why do some videos go viral and others don’t? Kevin Allocca, YouTube’s trends manager, conducted a TedTalk to discuss this very issue.
Kevin explained that there are three reasons that a Youtube video goes viral. First, the video has to have the support of a tastemaker. The tastemaker introduces us to new and interesting things and brings it to a larger audience. To be a tastemaker you have to have a larger following. Celebrities, athletes, and comedians are normally your tastemakers because they either have a large following on their website, blog, or social media accounts.
The next step in making a video go viral is community participation. Once you have a group of tastemakers supporting, sharing, and interacting with something they form a little community behind the idea. Then the tastemaker’s fans join in and are apart of the phenomenon by either sharing it or doing something new with it. Kevin explains that this happens because in today’s generation, we want to fill involved and apart of something. We do not just enjoy content now but we participate in it.
The final step of a video going viral is unexpectedness. No one can predict what is going to become popular on Youtube. For the video to be popular it has to be truly unique, surprising, and humorous. Kevin concludes his presentation by stating that viral videos define a new kind of media and a new type of culture. A culture where anyone has access and the audience defines the popularity.
Here are three videos that went viral:
This video follows the exact pattern of becoming viral. Rebecca Black “Friday” music video has been viewed nearly 200 million times. Rebecca Black video became popular because of tastemakers such as comedy blog Tosh.O posted it and then other blogs and comedians started posting jokes about how bad Rebecca’s singing is. Once everyone started making fun of the video, a community formed where there were 10,000 parodies of this video created. Her video popularity was completely unexpected but came from ridiculousness and humorous concept that the community around the video formed.
Nyan cat is another video that has become an Internet sensation. This 8-bit animation of a cat that flies through space as rainbows stream from its Pop Tart body has dominated Youtube being viewed nearly 50 million times in 2011. Jennifer Bergen, writer for Geek.com, reports that the video was originally posted by YouTube user saraj00n on April 5, getting more than 1 million views in its first two weeks. Nyan cat benefited more from community participation then from one tastemaker. Nyan cat inspired creativity among a community that inspired a Nyan cat video for every culture and country. It went from a video that was just suppose to be funny to something that we all can enjoy and be apart of.
Maria Aragon was the latest Youtube star when she posted a stripped down piano based version of Lady Gaga’s born this way. The Huffington post reported that the video caught the eye the acclaim singer. Gaga tweeted that she couldn’t stop crying and stated that this is why she makes music to have an impact like this. Gaga linked to Maria video in her tweet becoming the first tastemaker to support the video. Ellen DeGeneres brought her on her show and recently Lady Gaga performed the song with Maria live in concert. With over 50 million views to date Maria became an over night success. A community of support developed around Maria by supporting and sharing the video and the message behind it.