What makes a video go viral? That’s the $64,000 question, as your grandma used to say. Truth is, we all have some suppositions, but there’s a lot of throwing the dice and praying going on.
I do know that every time I’ve deliberately set out to make something go viral; it’s not met my expectations. The things that have been wildly successful I did because I wanted to do them. I had no expectations of virality.
The young producers behind these BuzzFeed videos are probably not thinking about how you develop an audience and what that means over the long term. And they probably don’t need to; they just need people like me behind the scenes somewhere, pushing the bean counters out of the way.
Below is an embed of the hilariously deadpan Andrew Ilnyckj as the Creepy Guy, one of a series of BuzzFeed videos that has gone viral this year.
Here’s an interesting Nightline clip (via FishbowlNY) about the BuzzFeed office in Los Angeles and their creation of these wildly popular videos. I have been captivated by them recently, trying to unlock the secret recipe so that I can translate what they are doing to different parts of the galaxy — you know, education, non-profits, arts — people who need some virality in their messaging but seldom have the wherewithal to make it happen. I’ll get back to you; I’m nearly there.
In the meantime, watch.