What makes a video go viral?

In this TED Talk video, Kevin Allocca has the dream job of watching You Tube videos for a living. Or is it a dream job? After all, there are 48 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute of every day! Anyone can make and post a video. Anyone has the potential for fame online.

From the tens of millions of video clips, what is it that makes some of these videos go viral and reach millions of viewers? According to Allocca, there are three factors that are needed to break through the clutter:

  1. Tastemakers
  2. Community of participation
  3. Unexpectedness

Nothing happens overnight, and nothing goes viral with an initial boost from “tastemakers” and a large following of “participants.” This video tracks the timeline and tastemakers for three of the all-time viral video hits – Double rainbow, Friday, and Nyan cat. Enjoy the show!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Show the TED video (8 minutes). http://www.ted.com/talks/kevin_allocca_why_videos_go_viral.html
  2. Survey the class:
    1. Who has watched “double rainbow,” “Friday,” or “Nyan cat?”
    2. Who has watched them more than once? Who has forwarded any of these?
    3. Ask students to share links from videos that they have forwarded, or have been forwarded to them.
    4. Discuss the attributes of those videos. What made them share them?
    5. Have students search for some of the more popular commercial-based viral videos (suggestions: Will it blend, Old Spice). Did the attributes apply to those videos?
    6. Using the three attributes mentioned in the TED video, how could companies use those to create videos with viral potential?


Source: TED Talks – www.ted.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Classroom Activities

Leave a Reply