Another day, another viral video phenomenon takes the world by storm. Just as people were recovering from Gangnam Style, Harlem Shake took its place, with people posting videos of themselves performing the insanely stupid dance at a faster rate than any sane person could cope with.
It’s easy to see why videos are so popular online. Uploading a video to YouTube and its alternatives is very easy indeed, and with video-capable smartphones residing in the pockets of even the great unwashed it’s become standard to film events happening. Some of these videos of events happening become so popular they go viral. Which was the subject of last week’s We Ask You column.
We asked you, What Is Your Favorite Viral Video Of All Time? We received a fair, though not extravagant, number of responses. Those who did take part in the discussion took the opportunity to talk about their favorite viral video, and, in some cases, explore the reasons why it particularly resonated with them.
In terms of the videos mentioned it’s probably best to show you them rather than spend time talking about them. So what follows are embeds of five of the viral clips mentioned through the comments thread. They all have one thing in common: a seemingly undefinable quality that made them go viral across the InterWebs.
Where The Hell Is Matt?
The Evolution Of Dance
Charlie Bit My Finger
The question as to what made the videos above, and plenty of other videos too, go viral remains in place. Keywords thrown around by the MakeUseOf readership to explain what makes a video viral include “raw,” “amateur, “catchy,” “cute,” “inspirational,” and “funny.”
These are all good words to describe the videos that have blown up until everyone online becomes aware of them, but none is a catch-all that explains the secret formula. Perhaps there is no secret formula, and it is instead just about creating a video that people not only want to watch but want to share with others too.
Comment Of The Week
We had great input from the likes of 1hegame, thatguy, and al_08270, to name just a few. Comment Of The Week goes to Robert4, who won with this comment:
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.
We like this comment because it not only picks out a single viral video but also recalls the experience of seeing it for the first time. Susan Boyle’s appearance on Britain’s Got Talent represents an archetypal viral video in that it was everywhere for a short space of time before disappearing just as quickly.
We will be asking a new question tomorrow, so please join us then. We Ask You is a weekly column dedicated to finding out the opinions of MakeUseOf readers. We ask you a question and you tell us what you think. The question is open-ended and is usually open to debate. Some questions will be purely opinion-based, while others will see you sharing tips and advice, or advocating tools and apps for your fellow MakeUseOf readers. This column is nothing without your input, all of which is valued.
Image Credit: Bud Caddell