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Viral Videos

Nice TED talk here from Kevin Allocca, who manages YouTube’s trends:

What struck me most about this is that I was asked once (or told, really) that we had to make a video go viral, as if there’s a setting to place on your video to make it happen. As Kevin indicates, there’s a magic to it that develops organically, which says to me that if you set out specifically to make a video go viral you’re likely going to fail. You’ll either resonate with no one at all, or your fame will become infamy if people decide your video is ripe for parody or insulting responses.

For some that may be valuable – any publicity is good publicity to some people, and infamy fits that bill nicely. But if you’re a corporate organization working to make your voice heard – and create a positive response to your company or product – infamy is really not what you’re after. As my earlier post on the Cisco presentation indicated, you get a lot more out of catching the correct viewers than you do from a wider net of people who don’t proceed to interact with your company. And my last post also noted the difficulties presented by artificially inflated numbers.

At a corporate level there’s a pretty simple calculus – does the success of my video messaging improve business, create more leads, increase our ability to communicate (internally and externally), or otherwise increase the success and efficiency of the organization? From my perspective, if going viral helps accomplish those goals, then more power to your highly successful video. If it doesn’t do any of those things, or doesn’t do it enough, then millions of hits won’t make a difference where it really matters.

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