I’m having a stretch here after being away from the blog with various and assorted.
Hell – I can’t claim that this is a regular outlet not matter what the “bloggers rules” might say.
I’ve been privy to conversations and ideas lately about viral activity online for various and assorted organisations. In one way or another they have been “planning a viral”. Yep. I think you can see it too – already.
Lookit. I’ve never been a web marketeer and I don’t play well with sales but one thing I have been watching closely for more years than is socially acceptable, is the web and it’s slightly unpredictable cultural successes. Memes, themes and virals.
Listening to people talk about planning these things is like listening to someone plan an accident to fool their insurance company. In most cases, people can smell when something is not right. I have the horrible habit of snorting derisively at people who “make virals” in an inexperienced manner. You really do need to be Willy Wonka to get these things right. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m aware that snorting derisively is rude and I do *try* not to – sometimes it is involuntary.)
I know there are many manufactured videos that go viral and they are excellent – but deep in their roots, tucked away, drawing that kernel with a pencil on a napkin, is an artist with a really good idea. Usually a small and slightly off schedule idea, something that breaks the current rules. That’s the point right? Creative people, having good ideas that don’t fit in, it’s how we make new things.
Anyway. More to the point of this current rant. The people who often make these seeds, or the people who posted their happenstance or makings online, often they are not a committee, not cool and slick organisations. They’re underdogs.
I love the underdog, the antihero, the zero cool and the anti fashion. I can’t quite live up to that myself I guess, but I know it when I see it and I think it’s full of win. Whether they still win when they go interstellar – well, that’s maybe a different post.
So looking at a selection to prove my point (and I’ll take all your objects and counter points as the exceptions that prove the rule – because I’m like that) –
Where the hell is Matt? – Quit his job, travelled about, did a dance, and then became a chewing gum hero.
Keyboard Cat – A guy films his cat “Fatso” in 1984, may years later, he posts it on YouTube and ends up in the viral hits of all time.
Star Wars kid – Led to an unfortunate end after the boy involved did not mean to become a number one meme.
Numa Numa dance – This guys films himself lip syncing puts it on Newgrounds and end sup running contests and appears as one of the “funniest moments” on TV.
David after the dentist – Kid recorded on the way back from the dentist after anaesthesia acting as you might under the influence. At time of writing – 60,375,904 views on YT.
Okay, so not a comprehensive list of memes and doesn’t enter the world of shock and pr0n, but it’s not a bad assortment.
These are normal citizens, doing what they do because they are sharing with people they know. I don’t believe they were aiming initially for the big time meme fest of the web. Individuals doing very human things. Not companies trying to construct a human element.
Personally I prefer these individual, home grown videos. They add to the viral theme and they say good things like, “You could do this too, what’s funny about your life?” It has a truthfulness that you can sense. It’s that truth, the barefaced and fresh, the unbeguiled. This is what sells the viral meme to me.
Y’know it’s not new of course. (What the hell is these days?) These moments of people’s lives, that reminds me that I am a little like them and we are all a little funny and weird sometimes. It’s natural and unscripted. Just like my favourite moments of live TV or radio.
You know that time that presenter got that bit wrong? When the serious news anchor laughed instead of reading? Or someone burped on the radio and giggled? Yeah, that’s what it reminds me of. The things you cannot predict that make us feel a bit closer to our presenters and icons. The things that tell me that we might have something in common and that I was able to see that.
These days, instead of having to be there, listening live to the moment when things went a little bit wrong, or veered off the path of planning to comic effect. We can watch it back, again and again and send it to others to share that human element.
Like a choreographed flashmob, I guess that’s a tough one for viral designers to script…
But come on in and take a pew – tell me why I am wrong. I like a good discussion – otherwise I’d take the comments box off. I’ll put the kettle on.