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What makes a video go viral?

I am mildly addicted to YouTube and could lose hours watching it. It has been a wonderful tool that has helped me fix a garbage disposal, work out how to get a translation module to work on my business website and best of all, it just makes me laugh. Who doesn’t love an entertaining video like this?

So, what makes a video go viral? We see it all the time in the newsfeeds on Facebook. How does it happen? What makes a video reach so many, so fast?

The TED talk by Kevin Allocca, Trends Manager for YouTube, may give you a better understanding.

In this TED Talk, Kevin Allocca highlights 3 points.

Kevin Allocca mentions how influential tastemakers can be in popularity. An example was Bear Vasqquez video that was posted in January 2010. In July of 2010, the video became viral after Jimmy Kimmel tweeted about the video. After the tweet the YouTube video has now been viewed over 23 million times. Tastemakers are often the link between the audience and the viral video.

Tastemakers tend to be TV personalities, bloggers or those with a larger following that has the ability to introduce a video to a large audience.

Viewers no longer want to just enjoy, but they want to participate. Viewers want to review, share or participate by uploading views. Many new celebrities are being discovered by viral YouTube videos. Celebrities such as Justin Beiber, Cody Simpson, Austin Mahone, Soulja Boy, Esmée Denters, just to name a few.

As viewer we want to participate and become a part of the phenomenon.

The unexpected
Expect the unexpected! As viewers we want to be entertained. Whether it’s laughing, crying or anything in-between. Some of the most unexpected things have the biggest impact.

In the TED Talk, Kevin Allocca highlights this video by Casey Neistat. Casey received a ticket for not riding in the bike lane. He wanted to highlight why it isn’t the safest place to ride your bike. This video was both entertaining and unexpected. To date this video has a current view count of 12,805,617.

New media such as YouTube is on the rise. Everyday people have ownership and are shaping this new pop culture. What’s next? We will have to wait and see. Until then, enjoy being entertained by the variety of videos that can only be provided by YouTube.


Hashtag? Hashbrowns? Hashwhat?

“Hashtag? That’s the number sign right?” It’s a statement that I heard just last week. I know enough about this infamous little sign, but I know I need to explore this little symbol a little further. I may have to take regular breaks during this post, “Hashtags” reminds me of “Hashbrowns” and who doesn’t love “Hashbrowns”?

The best place to start is always at the beginning, even if you have the basic information down. I started here with The beginners guide to hashtags.  I think to many the hashtag seems to be little more than the Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake skit. If you haven’t seen it, take a look. Funny!

So the question remains, does the hashtag have a purpose, so is it just #abigjoke? The purpose of the hashtag is to essentially group information on a subject into a searchable link. However with hashtags having comical names, I think it has becoming a little confusing to those still learning the social media ropes.

I admit that social media overall is a bit of a blur to most, but it’s a growing trend and that seems unlikely to be a passing phase. In my recent meeting, I asked for everyone in the room for their twitter handles for an event live tweet. The response I received with a room of blank faces. I think technology is moving faster than I think the average person can keep up and has completely changed the marketing world. When I started in school, social media was non-existent and now it’s the most widely used tool. #imgettingold. It’s regularly used, daily, hourly by our clients and is such a powerful tool.


Learning to control this changing environment comes with assessing and reassessing how we use the tool. The power of communication with others is ensuring that there is strength in posting the same hashtag. The more people on the same page, the more powerful the communications strategy. For example, if you are launching a new product like call ACMEWidget and you create the hashtag, you want to encourage others to use it too.

Keep in mind the “@” in twitter will tweet (post) directly on a twitter page and the hashtag “#” will not and just helps the searchability of the subject.

In the past it’s been heavily associated with twitter, but now also includes Facebook, Instagram Google+, Tumblr and Pinterest. The hash tag is taking the social media world by storm and so it’s time to harness the power of the hashtag.

#hashtagwhileeatinghashbrowns  #nomnomnom  #norjustafad #embracethehashtag



Oliver Blanchard describes the business return on investment for social media like this:
Investment >>Action>>Reaction>>Non-Financial Impact>>Financial Impact $$$ (ROI)