What goes viral?

News hits in China!

My friends Jack and Teresa became internet celebrities this week. It’s crazy how fast it can happen.  Basically, Jack proposed to Teresa in a creative way, enlisting a team of friends and strangers to help pull off the stunt.  Their little youtube video got picked up by some big time news stations, and it spread.  Pretty soon, it was all over the news, and the video has now been viewed by over 350,000 people.

Whoa.  The story has appeared on the Huffington Post, MSN, Yahoo!, World News with Diane Sawyer, and they were in an interview with Boston Channel 5 (WCVB).

It didn’t stop there. It went international!  We’ve seen articles in United Kingdom, China, Vietnam, Belgium, and Spain — click each country’s name to see what they are saying about Jack and Teresa.  If you don’t speak the language, you might need to use Google Translate to understand what they are saying, but you can get an idea from the pictures.

All of this is a good reminder about the power of the internet.  Information can travel much faster than even an airplane. But my big question is WHY? What makes one video go viral and another one go unwatched?

This summer, I made a lot of videos in China.  Most of them have barely gotten 100 views on youtube.  I’m not sure if I mind.  Perhaps I’d rather have a few dedicated readers than millions of adoring fans. Of all of my videos in China, this is the one that got the most views, but I don’t really know why:

What do you think? What makes something go viral on the internet, spreading to thousands of people? If I don’t measure success by the number of views, how do you think I should measure success for this blog? I’d love to hear your input.

And congratulations to Jack and Teresa!

Categories: Global Citizenship, USA

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2 replies »

  1. ummm, ive wondered this myself as something I made has gone viral… but not That viral! I made a look alike on http://www.cheezburger.com/ ( the very well known site.) I made many look alike but one, in 3 days had over 300 views. and all my others had none! It appeared on TONS of gossip websites, came up on the fisrt page of a image search for ” Miley Cyrus totally looks like ” and made it onto a bunch of Spanish websites… who knows why. To see the look alike go here http://cheezburger.com/6443102720

    it now has 1371 views. No offense intended, Miley Cyrus Lovers, its just because of her mouth 😀 i actually thought it was my worst one!

  2. Whoa. That’s a really creative way to propose! Congrats to them!!
    Sorry that I haven’t been on for awhile, I was out on vacation in Acadia.

    I really liked how they said things like, “Roger,” “Negative,” and “Positive.” It was really spy-like!
    Before, I thought the word “viral” was a negative word, mostly because it sounds a lot like “virus.” But now that I actually look it up, I found out that it can actually be a positive word!
    I’m not sure how something goes viral though.
    Maybe the “Club Time at Temple of Heaven” video got the most views because many people search those words on YouTube? Maybe it’s because it included a lot of stuff people like? Or need? Maybe it’s how you made the video? I honestly don’t know.
    I’m not really sure what other way to measure success other than the number of views, but maybe you can measure the success for your blog by the number of comments posted. More comments on a blog post if probably better.

    Hope this helps!!
    😉 ~ Anna

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