Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The recipe (or why 'virality' and 'quality' are not the same thing...)

So, now, if you want to be viral, here is a list of ingredients you will need to pick from, in no particular order, and mix together. All of the below have been watched by tens of millions of people:

Children (I have chosen this one as an example because I am so bored with the 'Charlie bit me' one!)


Extraordinary people


A little digression. Can someone tell me why this animation has got 58 million views? Thanks.



Shocking (the quality of this one is not great but frankly...just as well...)

A successful mix (children, moving and funny) with a couple of useful extra ingredients such as a very well-known music and a famous film reference...

But before you pick and mix, exactly like you would do before you start cooking, you will need to decide..... which dish you are going to prepare: i.e. you need to figure out whether you really want your video to be a viral video or a good video to post on your website or elsewhere. Ok, it might seem a silly decision - who would not want to be viral? (Have I just written this? It sounds awful!)- but it is not silly at all. And after having seen some of the viral videos above you might NOT want to be viral at all!

And I can tell you why: in a viral video, content, i.e. what you actually say, does not matter much. Honestly, the thought of content not being important was incredibly scary for someone who has spent 10 years at the BBC, where we liked to believe that content was king...but online 'virality' is something else, so...I got over it.

On the other hand, if you want to produce a good, informative video that will be viewed only by the people you care about - and then passed on to other people you care about- then what you say has to be really relevant. Mind you, also your 'informative' video needs to be..ehm.. watchable! So stay tuned for the rules on 'watchability', ie quality.

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