What does it mean to go viral?  Everyone seems to want viral material, but viral material does not pop up overnight.  While I was reading the subreddit for social media, I noticed a few links pop up in what makes a viral campaign.  Whether your quest is to make it to the front page of Reddit or to have over 100 shares on Facebook, there is definitely a challenge to the quest.  Mashable posted an infographic a few years back, but their information is still relevant today.



Source: http://mashable.com/2011/12/03/viral-infographic/

If we look at the past few viral trends, we can see some similarities between campaigns.  This post will focus on video gone viral, with memes and other articles coming in future posts.

Dead Giveaway

I am a bit biased toward this one since it happened recently and I was able to catch on before it had 300,000 views to help spread it, but I digress.  Songified has done well with taking news stories and remixing them into auto tuned songs.  They are also very well known for the “Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That” video.  What makes this popular is taking a catchy beat with an uplifting story.  Charles Ramsey had an interesting story to tell, and was made an internet celebrity overnight.  It follows over half of the reasons content can become a meme and go viral with the Mashable infographic.  It is amusing, funny, uplifting and catchy.  The video makes you feel like there is good in the world, and makes you want to share it.

Harlem Shake


Harley Shake garnered attention because it was easy to mimic and amusing.  While it may simply look like someone is having a seizure, which is something the internet loves; like the odd attraction to watching people others get hurt as seen with the numerous videos of people getting hit in the groin.  It has a catchy beat, and is easily imitated.  Because of its ease, many groups created their own version of the video to share, helping demonstrate that groups can keep up with memes, and drive more people to the original to figure out what people are trying to copy.  This video is a self-fulfilling cycle since it spawned imitators, then people watching the imitations and the original to further both view counts.  Also, this video was the fastest video to one billion views on YouTube, reaching a billion in just 40 days.

Gangnam Style

What video list is complete without the Korean dance that took the world by storm?  Gangnam style was the first video on YouTube to reach a billion views, and even more with people imitating the horse dance found in the refrain.  Gangnam style had a very catchy beat that made you smile, a hilarious video that made you want to share, and a dance that is very easy to mimic.  It proves that you do not need to understand lyrics in order to enjoy a song, which helped give it fame worldwide.  On top of that, Psy took to the media stage, having interviews around the world and a very strong Ask Me Anything on Reddit.  He used his superstar fandom to make fans happier instead of releasing another sequel within the days to play on his previous popularity. 

Most of the common videos shared are to music, but that isn’t always the case.  Old Spice racked up their view count quickly with their commercials, and the Snickers “You Aren’t You When Your’e Hungry” (yes that is a purposeful misspelling) also garnered good attention.

What are some of your favorite meme videos?  Comment below and I can try to do a post about their significance too.