Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Monday, June 7, 2010
It’s been a few weeks and alas, Buzz, Viral & WOM has ended. We went out with a bang, each of us creating a word of mouth marketing campaign for a company or issue of our choice. I also just moved across the country to Los Angeles and began a new job. It’s been a series of endings and new beginnings.
We’re now enrolled in our final course for the DMC Program, Production for Digital Media. It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year and the program is almost complete. (I’ve really had this blog for that long?!)
For this week’s assignment, I want to talk about YouTube videos, specifically what makes them become so popular. Off the bat, it’s usually a combination of great editing, quality & content. The right topic is extremely important. This week in discussion we looked at unpopular videos and a good percentage of them had no point. Special effects, like captions and transitions, always up the quality. On the flip side, a shaking camera or horrible audio can ruin a video.
Although, in my personal opinion, the topic is the most important aspect of a successful viral video, there are a ton of copycats out there. Think of how many YouTube reaction videos you’ve probably seen – it’s just an everyday person sitting in front of their webcam recording their opinion and posting it live. Those videos aren’t popular because anyone cares what these people have to think; they are only popular because they relate to an important or already trending topic. I’ve seen my share of Lady Gaga and Twilight reaction videos to know that some YouTube junkies become enormously popular without ever having to create their own content. These people I like to call the copycats.
Aside from the copycat videos, the reactions, and the remixes, there’s also another way to make sure your video goes viral – make it controversial. One of the latest examples that exploded on the interweb featured a group of seven and eight year old girls dancing to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” in an urban dance competition. The video is embedded below.
For a second, I’d like to focus on the fact that this video was first posted because these young girls are extremely talented. There may have been inklings that it was a controversial subject, but I don’t honestly believe that was the point in posting the video at the time.
However, it soon exploded and became a moral crisis. But I also don’t believe that the controversy is what makes this video a success. If it was strictly a moral matter, it might also be boring. But paired with the fact that this video features one of the most popular (and widely reproduced) song and dance routines of the decade, it was sure to be a hit. Include quality audio and video recording and it’s a sure thing. Even if the video wasn’t controversial, it was entertaining to watch, another important ingredient in the popular-viral-video cake mix. So far, the original video has been reposted thousands of times. The story was also picked up by every major news source in the country. Collectively, it’s impossible to tell how many times the real video has been watched or by how many people. It’s still being reposted daily.
There are a lot of things that will make a video go viral, but in this case, I think the controversy wins out. Add into the mix that a bunch of copycats are still pushing it on with reaction videos and it probably won’t die anytime soon.