2 Nov 2012


You record a video of yourself reading a classic Shakespeare comedy in your native tongue.

You upload it onto YouTube

Time passes and suddenly your name is everywhere across the internet, Soon it leaks into the real world and you become quite famous for a while.

You have made yourself a viral sensation.

‘Viral phenomena’ describes the duplicitous multiplication of an object as it spreads across a medium and goes viral. It could be used to aptly describe a phenomenon that occurs in media or most specifically: the Internet. A viral video is one with often humorous content that becomes popular through sharing on the internet, mostly on social media and emails. Viral videos are so effective that they spawned a child in the ad sector know as viral marketing. The aim of viral marketing is the same as that of the viral video which is to spread information so fast and so much that those without it feel left out.

Creators of viral videos aren’t left without rewards; The Lonely Island, a comedy rap group came into the limelight purely by riding on the popularity of their rather funny videos. PSY, a Korean pop star recently broke into the American music scene as the music video of his hit “Gangnam Style” went viral.

Viral videos also don’t exist only to serve individual satisfaction; in 2012, a video named ‘Stop KONY 2012’ went viral and brought much needed relief and attention to the Invisible Children; African adolescents who were being morally manipulated by a Congolese warlord.

Also very often certain humorous images are paired with taglines and memes are born. Memes are possibly the most viral of media as they could be born in seconds and die not so shortly after. Viral media has gone on to show just how easily distributed information is, and also how easily it would catch on, regardless of its quality (see Rebecca Black’s “Friday”).

If you have any artsy leanings; writer, graphic artist, photography and other fascinating interests, a quick upload onto the internet could be what changes the game for you. You could open a YouTube account for the video lovers, a WordPress for the writers and a Tumblr or even a Facebook for the art.

Top 50 viral videos - 2011

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