Viral videos: Here today, gone tomorrow
Published: Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 00:03
So, we all remember the video “David Goes to the Dentist”, right? You know, the one where the little kid is high from his dentist visit and starts talking about how he feels while the dad records it.
What about “KONY 2012”? It was released exactly a year ago today. It’s that 30-minute video that within hours of being posted reached more than a million people and talked about the LRA/Joseph Kony and how we needed to stop them.
The infamous “Gagnam Style” is a more recent one. I know you all remember this one. It started out as the silly video– hilarious after the first few times of watching, I guess. Somehow, Psy ends up on “Saturday Night Live” and Top 40 radio stations across the country are playing “Gagnam Style” every hour. You’re probably wondering where this is going or what these videos have in common. I’ve got two words: viral videos.
So what exactly is a “viral video?” Well, to put a Wikipedia definition to it, a viral video is one that becomes popular through the process of Internet sharing, typically through video sharing websites, social media and email.
The impact these videos make is just phenomenal. I mean, here on the Southern Miss campus we’ve made two very popular Harlem Shake videos – one with Recreational Sports on campus and one at a home basketball game. The week before posting the Harlem Shake video, 799 people looked at the Southern Miss Recreational Sports Facebook page. The week after, more than 8,000 people had viewed the page.
USA Today ranked the basketball Harlem Shake video No. 1 in the Top 10 Collegiate Sports “Harlem Shake” videos, which is a pretty big deal. Associate Athletic Director of Marketing and Communications at Southern Miss Brent Jones tweeted earlier yesterday morning that the Southern Miss YouTube page has more than 200,000 views compared to the 40,000 it had just a few weeks ago.
That, my friends, is the power of a viral video. Of course, that’s just local. Some of these videos make it all the way to The Today Show or Ellen. It’s crazy to think how quickly a video you made for fun can gain so much fame in a matter of hours.
Two of the most recent viral videos would definitely be the “Harlem Shake” and “[insert famous artist and song title here] featuring Goat.” Let’s start with “Harlem Shake.” The first time I watched a “Harlem Shake” video I was sitting in my apartment scrolling through Facebook and literally every post was someone sharing a “Harlem Shake” video.
Annoyed, but curious, I gave in and watched one just to see why everyone was blowing up Facebook.
The one I chose to watch was not funny in any sense of the word. It was a group of grown fraternity men in their underwear, some with underwear on their heads, doing the Bernie and humping a wall. However, seven people shared this video. SEVEN. So, I go to YouTube, hoping that the “Harlem Shake” videos are not all alike and that some might actually be humorous.
I come across some fantastic ones. UGA Men’s Swim and Dive team had a great version. They did their entire video underwater! Not to mention, someone had on a Storm Trooper helmet. Kudos to that guy). My favorite “Harlem Shake” video, though, would have to be the one from Sea World in San Antonio. They have seals and a walrus jamming with workers. Who doesn’t love a good seal dance every now and then?
I probably spent the majority of my afternoon watching these “Harlem Shake” videos. Around 9:30 that night, I check Facebook again and my e-mail. I have now been invited to three on-campus Harlem Shake video projects. Not to mention the one that was taking place at Southern Miss Radio that I was to be a part of. I thought, “man…this blew up fast.”
Suddenly, everyone is over the “Harlem Shake” videos. No one is uploading them anymore, or at least if they are uploading them, they’re not funny. Maybe the reason this viral video didn’t last for long is because “Taylor Swift – I Knew You Were Trouble (feat. Goat)” became an instant success.
The video starts off with a clip from Taylor Swift’s hit “I Knew You Were Trouble” single. We all know the lyrics, “blah blah blah….you broke my heart and I wrote a song about it… cold hard ground, OHHHHHHHHHH, OHHHHHHwoahhhhhhOHHHH” Yeah, that song. Well, the infamous goat sings the “Oh’s” in this particular version.
So, you see Taylor being all “punk rock” and then... goat in fence singing “Oh.”
Unlike the “Harlem Shake,” I got a lovely first impression of this Goat phenomenon. I watched this video on repeat for hours. It was hilarious. Who would’ve ever thought to put a goat in a video? I’m laughing as I type this, if that indicates how funny I thought this video was.
Then everyone starts doing it. Rihanna has a song featuring Goat – even kicking it back to Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer” – arguably the funniest “Goat” video out there.
I just want to scream “You Can’t Sit With Us!” to all the viral videos out there. Okay, not all of them – but most of them. Viral Videos are just overplayed. They overstay their welcome on the Internet. The best comparison I can think of is “Someone Like You” by Adele. When that song came out, everyone loved it, and I do mean everyone. Everyone loved it so much that by day three of the song being out no one wanted to hear it again. It was on repeat in their cars or the radio played it every thirty minutes. You couldn’t even watch that week’s SNL without escaping “Someone Like You.” Now, everyone is sick of it, annoyed with it, whatever. Just like most of the viral videos.
But, hey, until the next cool thing happens, keep calm and “Harlem Shake” on.