Why do videos go viral?

Recently Youtube’s Trend manager, Kevin Allocca, gave an insightful TED talk outlining the following 3 reasons why videos go viral.

1) Taste-makers – prolific tweeters/bloggers who highlight a video and bring it a larger audience which inevitably snowballs the video’s viewership and popularity.

2) Communities of Participation – People become a part of the viral phenomenon by sharing, commenting, participating and re-interpreting the videos.

3) Unexpectedness – The random, unexpected and sometimes downright ‘weird’ breaks through the veneer of our ordinary lives and generates an unusual amount of interest.

For me, number 2 is the critical factor. Yes its about getting exposure through key “taste-makers” and often about saying or doing something somewhat unusual however without communities of participation none of this is possible. Often viral videos are birthed amidst already established (albeit small and niche) sub-communities that then, through their liking, commenting and general interaction bring it to a wider audience.



Andrew, 12/04/2012