The Virality Buzz

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.

How YouTube Works

How YouTube Works.

Here’s an intriguing little nugget for all of you who thought you uploaded a video to YouTube and then it lived in its own little assigned cubby hole until someone wanted to play it. Maybe in the olde-timey days, but not no mo’. Watch. It’s an interesting little tidbit. H/T Gizmodo

KitKat Parody Video Hilariously Mocks Apple

Not long after Google announced the latest version of its Android 4.4 mobile operating system is called KitKat, the Nestle-owned chocolate brand released a promo video that brilliantly lampoons Apple.

The video uses tech verbiage to describe the chocolate bar, saying it works in both portrait and landscape modes for “truly panoramic tasting and an experience that will leave you up in the cloud.”

KitKat Parody Video Hilariously Mocks Apple.|Mashable

Brilliant. Just brilliant.

Mark This -2- Search and Paid Search Content — Is it Worth the Money?

In today’s episode, we talk about a new study by eBay about the efficacy of purchasing search terms related to your business name. Do Walgreens, Amazon, Chevy or Ford need to purchase those terms? We examine this and give you a few ideas about thinking twice about conventional wisdom when it comes to marketing on the Web.

Read the article in the Harvard Business Review blog about the eBay study.

More videos in this series.

Mark This – Episode 1A – Search and E-mail Trump Social Media for Sales

I scrapped the first several episodes in this new series when this info came over the transom. It’s so important that I left the first episode alone but went in a different direction than I planned for the rest — hence the weird naming convention!

We look at some data today that shows search and e-mail marketing come in far our in front of social network marketing when it comes to sales. This should surprise no one, but it will probably surprise quite a few who have invested lots of money and resources into social media.

In the next few episodes, we’re going to look at the evolution of search, how paid search ads may not be of any value at all and we’ll get to the nitty gritty of why and how people look for information on your website. Enjoy!

P.S. — I’m out of town for the next week, but I’ve got the next installment ready to tape upon my return. Make sure to comment or send us any questions you may have from the Contact page.

Here’s the link to the Wired article.

Mark This – Episode 1- Authenticity

Here’s the first installment of my new video series on marketing ideas and communications trends. These short videos — under five minutes — are not designed to serve as comprehensive pieces on a given area, instead they should provide you with a few conversation starters to begin talking about these issues within your own shop or in your own organization.

In this first video, we examine the concept of authenticity within a marketing campaign and use an example of inauthentic imagery playing on perceptions to prompt a sale.

for more information on these products, visit

How To Prove You’re Not A Racist

How To Prove You’re Not A Racist : Code Switch : NPR

“I work with the wrongly accused,” he [Dan Hill, president of the D.C. communications firm Ervin/Hill Strategy] says, as well as “people who know they made a mistake and want to fix it, and others that see a mistake on the horizon that might become public and want to make sure they handle it the right way.”

But Hill says most clients who first come for his aid fall into one big category: the drowning victim, panicked and flailing for help. Often his first advice to them is to breathe, literally.

“We’ve all experienced the anxiety of making a mistake,” he says. “Few of us have felt having that mistake broadcast to hundreds of millions of people and how that makes you feel.”

Deen seemed to be drowning in her own tears by the end of her appearance on NBC’s Today show, her first public interview after controversy erupted over her using the N-word.

Hill says there’s no silver bullet to fix Deen’s situation.

“I think I’m one of the best in my field. I can’t help her get out of this in a week,” he says. “This is the kind of thing that will maybe take years — decades — for her to overcome.”

The timing for recovery from a race-related controversy is especially tricky, Hill says, because “it has to do with your character, your values, and your belief systems.”

Yes, but.

Paula Deen’s situation is a “yes, but” because it’s all taken completely out of context. You must read the deposition that all of this is coming from — the whole thing. Google it.

There’s no question that she did not handle this well. At all. But it’s low-hanging fruit for the 24/7/365 media machine, so why not? Why not talk about Paula Deen and butter and grits and saying the N-word instead of talking about substantive news? You know, like climate change or Syria or DOMA or how many Congressional representatives Monsanto has on its payroll.

Here’s my initial take on it, y’all.

And here’s the HILARIOUS Bill Burr on Conan. A great take on the whole business.

ATTN Nonprofits: New YouTube Channels Coming Early March 2013

YouTube has begun rolling out a new YouTube Channel design entitled One Channel to a very small small group of YouTube users. A sitewide roll out is expected in early March. The new design offers much less customization, but enables more efficient browsing of your videos and the channels that you are subscribed to, and is more tailored for smartphone and tablet video watching.

via ATTN Nonprofits: New YouTube Channels Coming Early March 2013 « Nonprofit Tech 2.0 Blog :: A Social Media Guide for Nonprofits.

Watch as Vine becomes the next great news-gathering tool | CNET

What if the Arab Spring, or Hurricane Sandy had been Vined?

Much has been made over the years about how Twitter is one of the world’s most important new tools for reporting breaking news. But with the launch of Vine, has Twitter now expanded its control over citizen journalism to video?

via Watch as Vine becomes the next great news-gathering tool | Internet & Media – CNET News.

This is an interesting article on Vine, Twitter’s new 6-second video app. Makes a lot of sense and I’ll be interested to see how it develops.

I’ve been trying to master Vine, without much success!

Untangling the Vine — Is It Really the Next Big Thing? I Check it Out

Very Interesting Op-Ed from Chris Taylor of Mashable yesterday (1/30/13).

via What Makes Vine So Hot?.

Well, I set out to find out a bit. Taylor asserts that the three word description is key to Vine’s success.

What mattered in each case was that the service was easily summarized and differentiated. You could grok it instantly. You had a reason to try it. And here’s a good rule of thumb: if you can describe what makes a service different in three easy words — “filtered square photos,” perhaps, or “140 character updates,” or “six-second videos” — it has a good shot at taking off.

To put it another way, here’s how top Valley VC Marc Andreessen has described his process for deciding which companies to invest in: “I look for the thing people are laughing at, but is growing like a weed.”

I’m a super neophyte Viner (2 videos so far) but I have to admit, it’s fun and I can see some benefits, especially in cases where you want to engage people quickly, simply, amusingly — perhaps ironically — and nearly instantly.

As one reviewer said on the App Store, forget photos, this is the new frontier. I scoffed at that — but that was before I downloaded and tried it.

2013-01-31 10.23.09Now, I was planning to link this to my Twitter feed, but, of course, I forgot to link it first and I haven’t figured out how to do it later yet. So, if you want to view my lame first attempts at a Vine video, follow me @markrblackmon.  (Though it seems as though I might have broken Twitter this morning! LMAO I may have to back out of it all and start again.)

Meanwhile, while I’m trying to figure out how to use this, you know, computer, check out Vine ( not or check them out in the App Store.