361MC: TED Talk – Why Videos Go Viral: Kevin Allocca

Why Videos Go Viral: Kevin Allocca


For this project I am in need of knowing everything possible about how YouTube works and how it effects our societies and culture. It is imperative to be able to know more about how videos on the website work and how the popular ones go viral and what that means essentially for us and our futures using YouTube.

Having somewhere on the internet to house all of peoples various hours of video content is a brilliant way in which to allow people to live their dreams, express themselves and announce their aspirations, it’s a brilliant new way of living for our current culture. Kevin explains that there are a three key things that happen to make a YouTube video go viral, tastemakers, communities of participants and the unexpectedness of YouTube itself. There are only a very small percentage of youTube videos and YouTubers who have over a million views or subscribers. The numbers are growing, but it’s still such a small percentage out of the hundreds of hours that the video sharing website has to offer.

US TV presenter Jimmy Kimmel is outed by Kevin as a tastemaker. Expressing the idea that from someone else who is established and has a following, there can be videos that are discovered; hidden gems. The example used was that of a man filming a rainbow, seemingly under the influence of something who finds this rainbow delightful and hilarious. Through Jimmy Kimmel tweeting about it through his social media page, millions have been exposed to the video and a hit is made. The video has been watched millions of times, making the man who filmed the video an overnight sensation. He wasn’t looking for anything, he just wanted to share his happiness with the world.

Through the communities of participants of social media, is where the videos like the rainbow man finds its legs and takes off into becoming a hit. Another example of this viral influence is Rebecca Black’s ‘Friday’ song, which after being tweeted by another celebrity in the US, became such a huge overnight hit that nobody could have comprehend what would happen next. Rebecca was pushed into stardom (albeit not in a great light) and another YouTube star was born. This community of participants is where everything is followed, remixed and parodied. These kind of videos is where it can create creativity like no other. The Friday song, reached hundreds of millions of views within months, with over 10,000 parodies created in honour of it all, everyone wants to have a slice of the cake and become acknowledged through their own take on something that becomes so culturally significant.

Kevin also picked up on something which is what has to be taken when moving forwards with this FMP project. Only the unexpected videos can become a hit. Taking the idea of what has already been established for the FMP, to become something different and exciting is the projects main aims. Surprising people with the unexpected is the way in which to have a video go viral, but also to gain viewership of work that is going to become constant and in need of fresh eyes in order for the community of participants to dissever the potential.

All of the three things that have been explained are characteristics of a new media, a new culture where anyones has access and the audience is in total control of the popularity and how far a video can go. We as individuals are able to gain a sense of control through YouTube and it’s way of using videos to define culture, we are the process that can make or break a video, it is providing us a green light; a beacon of freedom to have the power to enrich others lives with a video that could be about anything and anyone.


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