Viral videos are an integral part of the Web we know and love. Videos were bit-part players on the Internet before YouTube came along and changed everything. Now there are dozens of online video websites, millions of videos, and billions of viewers watching them every month. Most don’t go viral, which is to say get spread across the InterWebs until even your grandparents have seen it. But some do, and these tend to be unmissable entertainment.
You could just wait until someone you know shares the viral video with you on a social networking site, but by then the said video will have already attained viral status. Instead you can be the instigator who discovers these videos before they’ve been viewed by the mainstream. To do so means trawling a few different websites on a daily basis, but it’s worth doing so purely to be able to boast — in typical hipster fashion — that you saw that video before it went viral.
What follows is a list of some of the places you need to bookmark in order to discover the freshest viral videos before the rest of the population.
Your first port of call has to be YouTube, by far the most popular video-sharing site on the Web. The homepage will automatically show you videos that are currently popular on YouTube, and by clicking on each category listed in the left-hand sidebar you can view the popular videos in your chosen genres.
There is also YouTube Charts, which defaults to show ‘All Categories’ but which can be customized to suit each user’s personal preferences.
Last but not least is the YouTube Trends blog, and, in particular, the YouTube Trends Map. The latter reveals popular videos in different U.S. regions, with the option to weigh the results to either gender and/or different age groups.
I have previously extolled the virtues of Reddit here on MakeUseOf, and it once again proves its worth by claiming a place on this list. The subreddit dedicated to online videos is an incredible resource for finding new clips with which to wow your friends.
Some of the videos brought to greater attention on Reddit will go on to become viral video hits, but even those which don’t manage to break through to the mainstream are still more than worth watching.
CollegHumor is a website which seeks to promote the LOLs. As well as producing their own original content the site promotes the best funny content from around the Internet. The ‘Videos’ section features clips found by users. These can be viewed either in chronological order, by ‘Most Viewed’, or by ‘Most Liked’.
VideoSift is an online community dedicated to finding the best videos across the Web and promoting them to a wider audience. Users submit videos, which are then voted up or down the rankings by others. The result is an ever-evolving chart of online videos listed either by ‘Hotness’ or ‘Newness’.
Wimp is the perfect website for those who don’t like visually busy properties that end up confusing rather than informing random visitors. It features a simple text-only user interface which lists five of the best online video finds each and every day. Clicking on a title will play the embedded video in a new tab.
Most Watched Today is the only site on our list presented in a blog format. Someone finds videos, posts them to the site, and writes a short description of each on a daily basis. Browsing the entries in chronological order will throw up new finds, while sifting through the categories or clicking the ‘Random’ button will reveal good clips from months or years ago.
But Wait, There’s More…
You may be spitting at the screen in an apoplectic rage because some rather obvious websites for finding the best viral videos are missing from this list. There’s no need to panic, as their omission from this article is purely down to the fact that they have already been cited in previous articles of a similar nature.
Way back in 2009 in an article titled, 5 Websites to Check Out Latest Buzz and Viral Videos, we cited Buzzfeed and Viral Video Chart, amongst others. And in an article from 2012 titled, 7 Best Viral Video Websites To Watch What’s Buzzing Now, we cited Break and Devour, amongst others.
That lot should keep you busy for a while. If you watch every video promoted through these sites you’ll find yourself with a new way to waste time while bored at work, assuming your workplace hasn’t blocked YouTube. As a result of working at home and consequently having access to the whole of the Web 24 hours a day, I spend a little too long watching videos. Much to the chagrin of my girlfriend.
What do you think of this list of viral videos? Are there any websites you’d remove from it or add to it if you had the chance? Feel free to leave links in the comments section below to any more good websites where fresh viral videos can be found. Or just let us know what you think of YouTube, viral videos, or the growth in user-generated video content.
Image Credit: Photo Extremist