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Thanks to a combination of the ubiquitousness of YouTube and the omnipresence of smartphones (Justin Pot not included Why This Technology Blogger Does Not Own a Smartphone [Opinion] Why This Technology Blogger Does Not Own a Smartphone [Opinion] "Do you have a smartphone yet?" It's a question my friends ask often, and it's a reasonable one to ask. I make my entire living writing about technology, explaining how to use software and interviewing... Read More ) the Web has become awash with short clips showing anything and everything you care to mention. Add social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter into the mix and the age of the viral video is born.

Viral videos are videos which, for whatever reason, go viral. Meaning they spread across the Web infecting people as they go with their powers of vapidly entertaining the masses. There have been countless viral videos over the years, but which stand out for you, and why do you suppose they went viral in the first place? Thus this week’s We Ask You is born.

This Week’s Question…

We want to know, What Is Your Favorite Viral Video Of All Time?What is there to make use of with this one?” I hear you asking. Well, not only do we get to enjoy the entertainment provided by sharing some of the most watchable videos ever produced with each other, we can also explore what it is that makes a video go viral.

It seems unlikely that there is a magic formula to creating a viral video How To Make Unforgettable YouTube Videos How To Make Unforgettable YouTube Videos Read More … some work, some don’t, regardless of quality. Some people seem able to produce multiple viral videos, while others enjoy five minutes of fame as their one hit wonder travels across the Web before disappearing without trace just as quickly.

This is, therefore, a two-part question.

Firstly, please share your favorite viral video of all time with the rest of the MakeUseOf readership. It could be a classic such as Leave Britney Alone or the Rickroll, or it could be a recent phenomenon such as Nyan Cat, Gangnam Style, or the Harlem Shake. My favorite is the Hitler Reacts meme, though Keyboard Cat (pictured) also ranks highly.

Secondly, state the reason why you like this video so much. Did it make you laugh out loud? Was it maddeningly addictive or pure entertainment? What one element made it stand out, leading you to share it with friends and family? After all, that’s how videos become viral in the first place.

If we can somehow find the secret (if there is one) to what makes a video go from something seen by a few hundred people to something seen by millions then we will have achieved what many others have failed to do before us. It’s a challenge, but we think you’re up to the job. If not, well, we still get to watch some awesome YouTube clips.

Drawing Conclusions

All comments will be digested to form conclusions in a follow-up post next week where we will detail what You Told Us. One reader will be chosen for the coveted Comment Of The Week, getting their name up in lights, and the respect of other readers. What more motivation than that do you need to respond?

We Ask You is a weekly column dedicated to finding out the opinions of MakeUseOf readers. The questions asked are usually open-ended and likely to necessitate a discussion. Some are opinion-based, while others see you sharing tips and advice, or advocating tools and apps to fellow MakeUseOf Readers. This column is nothing without you, as MakeUseOf is nothing without you.

Image Credit: Bud Caddell

  1. Aka
    April 27, 2013 at 12:57 am

    Nyan Cat is probably the best evar. Really. Just evar.

    Although there have been so many, its pretty hard to pick any others.

    There are some good websites which aggregate daily viral videos, & come to mind.

    Gangnam style was a the biggest ever viral video wasn't it?

  2. Rajaa Chowdhury
    March 8, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    I kinda like this cause it's funny and was pretty viral in India at one time.

  3. Robert4
    March 8, 2013 at 9:32 am

    One viral video that comes to mind is the "Susan Boyle on Britain's Got Talent" appearance.

    When I saw the popularity of "Susan Boyle" on Youtube, I decided on a whim to watch it, even though I had no idea who Susan Boyle was or why she was attracting so much attention. I started the video, and then realized it was one of those "Oh no, here's a person that's about to humiliate herself, and everyone is watching this as a cruel mockery. The Internet is full of mean people."

    Then she started to sing!!!! My jaw dropped, my heart soared, and my faith in the goodness of humanity was restored! :-) She was incredible, and I found myself fist-pumping in the air as the video played! It turns out that perhaps I was one of those cynical, mean "Internet people" I dislike, because I thought she was going to bomb, yet here I was, watching it.

    So, I guess I'll pick "Susan Boyle" (for now). It's just a totally inspirational video.

    • Rajaa Chowdhury
      March 8, 2013 at 1:55 pm

      I agree 100%. Susan Boyle's audition video on Britain's Got Talent is so inspirational. Whenever, I am depressed I watch it. I am from Kolkata, India. :)

    • Rajaa Chowdhury
      March 8, 2013 at 1:56 pm

      I love the reaction on Simon Cowle's face too. His jaws literally dropped in awe.

    • dparrack
      March 8, 2013 at 5:11 pm

      At the time that was a true phenomenon, mainly because it was such a shock when that voice came out of this frumpy, unassuming woman. Good choice :)

      • Robert4
        March 8, 2013 at 10:15 pm

        I'm not sure how we could distill elements of "Susan Boyle" into our "secret formula" for viral videos, though!

    • Lisa Santika Onggrid
      March 13, 2013 at 3:23 pm

      Let me tell you: it's one of the most loved video to use in counseling. I watched it for the first time back in 8th grade and have watched it more than five times ever since. Teachers like to show us that video because it's just so touching. She never really fades away.
      Like you, it's like a slap on my face, showing me that I'm just as cynical as those Youtube trolls: judging the book by the cover.

      By the way, where is she now?

  4. Alexandra Momo
    March 8, 2013 at 4:21 am

    The best are without a doubt, Lemonade song, charlie the unicorn and He-man/what's up

  5. Abhi
    March 8, 2013 at 3:03 am

    Charlie bit me. :D

  6. al_08270
    March 7, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    I loved the "Evolution of Dance" videos. The first one was the best and I still go back to watch it.

    • dparrack
      March 8, 2013 at 5:08 pm

      Great video. But what makes it so compelling? Sure, it's funny and original, but is there something else?

      • al_08270
        March 9, 2013 at 11:16 am

        When you watch the guy (Judson Laipply) perform, he doesn't look like Justin Timberlake or Usher. He looks like your every day guy. I had heard the routines on the video are suppose to represent change ..... change in music and in everyday culture. As I watch it and recognize each song it makes me think about where I was and what I was doing when that song was released. It's almost like a 6 minute journey down memory lane.

  7. SaapeXD MoHods
    March 7, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    There are so many! ^_^ , Maybe Charlie bit my Finger (AGAIN) !

  8. Aaron
    March 7, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    I have a soft spot in my heart for the true oldies. I'm not sure if these are "viral videos" since videos were way too big to share back then but my favorites are:
    1) Gonads and Strife
    2) Yatta!

    • 1hegame
      March 7, 2013 at 4:59 pm

      Viral videos are not viral for everybody I think. If somebody gives you all viral videos I'm sure most of them you'll not like.

      BTW here is a website if anyone wants to go -

    • dparrack
      March 8, 2013 at 5:08 pm

      They are truly old-skool, to the point I hadn't seen either. I wan't to scrub my eyeballs with bleach after seeing Yatta!

  9. Justin
    March 7, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    "Charlie Bit Me" is by far the best viral video.

    • dparrack
      March 8, 2013 at 5:05 pm

      It's an absolute classic. What makes it so appealing though?

      • justin
        March 9, 2013 at 7:55 pm

        The Cuteness & the innocence of the babies is captured. no artificial stuff.

  10. Kenice N
    March 7, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    My favorite is Nyan cat!

  11. Michael Greene
    March 7, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    The numa numa dance.

  12. macwitty
    March 7, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    Laughing baby when his father imitates the sound of a microwave oven

    • missbossy
      March 8, 2013 at 11:15 am

      My fave baby laughing video is the quadruplets...

      • macwitty
        March 8, 2013 at 4:10 pm

        Nice one ;)

      • dparrack
        March 8, 2013 at 5:04 pm

        I found that really freaky! One baby laughing is cute, four is just downright scary.

    • dparrack
      March 8, 2013 at 5:04 pm

      Guaranteed to make you at least smile, if not start laughing yourself.

  13. Alan Wade
    March 7, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    With me it has to be the Ultimate animal video's. There are so many of them but they never cease to make me laugh.

  14. thatguy
    March 7, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    Antoine Dodson / Autotune the news (aka Songify) - "Bedroom Intruder" song

    I remember having previously seen the news story coverage becoming a meme itself - he was then known as "The They Rapin' E'rybody Out There" guy or similar. Then very shortly afterwards: BOOM! Autotune the news made it explode.

    I remember waking up that morning when the song broke. I couldn't believe my ears. And the song, so damn catchy. An utterly joyous celebration of music, individuality and expression coming out of the darkest of circumstances.

    For me it was also the moment where "remix culture" became fimly established as a cultural phenomenon

    • dparrack
      March 8, 2013 at 5:01 pm

      Great choice! More than most that showed the power of online video to change someone's life, as he's done rather well from the phenomenon. "Ain't nobody got time for that!" is a similar story.

  15. Tara Moser
    March 7, 2013 at 11:51 am

    The keyboard cat and the two cats that play pat. A cake.

    • dparrack
      March 8, 2013 at 5:00 pm

      What is it about cats that's so appealing to the Web generation?

  16. Garris Rago
    March 7, 2013 at 10:18 am

    Charlie bit me

  17. 1hegame
    March 7, 2013 at 9:52 am

    "Battle at Kruger" This I love because first of all I love wildlife and I love wild animals, big cats :) and this video just present an awesome "extremely rare" scene and "raw".

    I think Viral means different for different people. For me "Raw" is viral. That video which is "ameture" and far away from any kind of effects added to it. There are many videos in Earth Touch's youtube channel. They mostly present wildlife films raw. Now, personally I "hate" gangnam style. What's in it? just a regular song. I don't know how it climbed every peak.

    A video goes viral when you're too lucky or (if I talk religious) you've done some good things in past life or in present which gives you such results. There's no other way like whole world know Nayan cat but I think very few people know even both are similar. I can also make a same Nayan cat like thing but I bet It'll never go viral. Also a huge example is Google. Isn't it viral? Larry Page is benefited with such an awesome gift.

    "Charlie bit my finger" No netizen can disagree with this :) That is natural form with "no planning" and is raw.

    For me the viral video is All Windows Startup And Shutdown Sounds.

    • dparrack
      March 8, 2013 at 4:59 pm

      Thinking of viral as raw is an interesting point. It certainly helps when something is unscripted and captured in the moment. You don't understand the appeal of Gangnam Style? It's awesome, that's all you need to know ;)

      • 1hegame
        March 11, 2013 at 5:11 am

        The fact: Humans have different tastes. The lines "oppa gangnam style.. op op... heyyyyyyy sexy lady..." never appealed me.

  18. NigelB
    March 7, 2013 at 6:22 am
  19. Dan
    March 7, 2013 at 3:51 am

    I love the "Where the Hell is Matt?" viral videos, especially the 2008 version which used the enchanting song Praan. Brings tears to my eyes whenever I watch it.

    • Gábor Fábián
      March 7, 2013 at 7:10 am

      Yeah, I also really like the Matt series.

      My favorites are Amazing Horse and Kiwi!

    • dparrack
      March 8, 2013 at 4:55 pm

      That is an awesome series of videos. They're always fun to watch.

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