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Friday, August 11, 2006

Viral video: Your theories?

Just a quick link to a fun viral video from the band OK Go that has been making the rounds this week. Why is it that this has been seen by 2.5 million people in about 10 days?

I'd love to hear your theories about what makes videos like this take off... to me, what makes it work certainly isn't the production values. It's simply creative and funny, and you've never seen anything like it.


  • Perhaps it's the same concept as a novelty store. Not something which will leave a lasting impact, but something so unique, odd, cute, sexy - whaever to get you to say "oh - So and so would love this!" So someone buys it, they share the joke and it ends and the novelty gift is forgotten.

    However, before the novelty expires - in this digital form, you can pass it on without be accused of regifting and the virus begins.

    What inspires people to share these?

    Something you've not seen before (as you suggested). So - sure the cute kitten playin on th ecomputer gets a send - it's just so cute... however, what about people doing lipsynchs and demonstrating very little talent - why would those catch? Voyeurism - in the sense that it is novel because people haven't been invited "to that party" in their lives. And suddenly, the party is here.

    What does that cute girl in your high school class do when she goes home? Not the most popular girl, the other girl, the one you might have a shot with even - what is she doing? that would be the phenomenon with Brookers, Lonelygirl, and perhaps the hundreds of lesser knowns like cutiemish.

    But there are countless parties we've not been invited to.... just look at the popular downloads on youtube and you'll see a ton of these things which represents aspects of life which have been foreign to you.

    I think the lipsynch fad was linked to this - but I think the lipsynch viral popularity is over (as the novelty died) and more and more the novelty of entire genres will ware off and people will be drawn to truly unique things like the kid jumping off a 3 story roof without injury or the truly uniquely entertaining - like four guys dancing on treadmills.

    Love your blog, keep it up.

    By Blogger The Unknown Filmmaker, at 8:27 PM  

  • this one actually happens to be a sequel to their first dance video "A Million Ways", which was a huge huge hit as well... but it took a very long time for the first one (and the band) to get a following though.. it's what put OK GO on the map actually.

    By Blogger Jim Gilliam, at 8:34 PM  

  • addendum to my last comment... clarify - other "parties" would include - the videos from soldiers in Iraq... things along those lines.

    Also was going to mention that I don't think people realize that if you own a video and upload it to youtube they have the right to sell and distribute it if they want.

    By Blogger The Unknown Filmmaker, at 8:47 PM  

  • Just from a film standpoint it's deliciously clever. They've found a wonderful format to minimize the fact that these are four ordinary-looking guys who are definitely NOT dancers. Shto the whole thing in one take in long shot, giving it a certain authenticity. Adn the song is damned catchy. Heck, I like the whole package.

    By Blogger GEORGE ROBINSON, at 4:25 AM  

  • I think part of the phenomenon is that the public mind is ripe for the taking here.

    A thought that developed after I read through Tom Shone's book on the history of the blockbuster is that the reason Star Wars was so successful was that everybody already had the movie in their heads, it was just a matter of seeing it with their eyes (if that makes any sense).

    The reason there will never be any more blockbusters of that magnitude and impact today, is that people have seen a lot more of the things they imagine when it comes to feature films. There has been a movie for everything, so things are settling down into niches.

    I think big public response happens when there's a huge gap between what's being done, and what people want. In this case, people may just have this need to communicate via short form content. One of my favorite applications of YouTube, is ESPN columnist Bill Simmon's usage of it to describe significant moments in sporting history, to support his jokes, theories, etc.

    This was essentially impossible, before, but everybody wished they could send a clip of their memory to other people.

    By Blogger Kobe, at 6:19 PM  

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