Who doesn’t love a good Youtube video? Whether it’s a laughing baby or a sleep walking dog, most of us have indulged a time or two.
What is it about these videos that get them millions of hits? What is it about Charlie the Unicorn that automatically sends us to the share button?
I think it’s about the ethos. As humans we love to feel things. We savor belly laughing so hard we cry and crying because we just watched a solider reunite with his 3-year-old daughter. Because they’re recorded, these moments are more accessible than they’ve ever been before. Video allows us an experience that combines audio with visual, creating a potentially emotionally lethal combination.
In case you don’t want to read the story above, a student in New Hampshire was “assaulted” (he was shoved) by a cop as he was being arrested. The whole incident was filmed on put on copblock.org, a website that encourages police accountability. The video got 100,000 views quickly.
Ethically, an incident like this raises many questions. It’s fair to say that the cop’s reputation is scarred, if not ruined. If this hadn’t been posted on the internet, he may have gotten away with a simple warning, but now his job may be at risk.
Obviously, not every video put on the internet garners this kind of reaction. I’ve come to the conclusion that making a viral video requires a baby, unicorn, clumsy person, or something downright outrageous or wacky (Read: Rebecca Black). You can’t just post a video and expect a million hits over night. It has to be share worthy, something that people are dying to tell their friends about.
I’m certainly not on my way to Youtube stardom. The video below has all of about 30 hits, ans is basically only funny if you have an extreme love for classic literature AND Youtube (most people don’t fit both of those categories…)