sponsored links
TEDYouth 2011

Kevin Allocca: Why videos go viral

November 19, 2011

Kevin Allocca is YouTube's trends manager, and he has deep thoughts about silly web video. In this talk from TEDYouth, he shares the 4 reasons a video goes viral.

Kevin Allocca - YouTube trends manager
Kevin Allocca watches YouTube videos. For his job. Full bio

sponsored links
Double-click the English subtitles below to play the video.
Hi. I'm Kevin Allocca, I'm the trends manager at YouTube,
00:15
and I professionally watch YouTube videos.
00:18
It's true.
00:20
So we're going to talk a little bit today about how videos go viral
00:22
and then why that even matters.
00:25
We all want to be stars --
00:27
celebrities, singers, comedians --
00:29
and when I was younger, that seemed so very, very hard to do.
00:32
But now Web video has made it
00:35
so that any of us or any of the creative things that we do
00:37
can become completely famous
00:39
in a part of our world's culture.
00:41
Any one of you could be famous on the Internet
00:43
by next Saturday.
00:45
But there are over 48 hours of video uploaded to YouTube
00:47
every minute.
00:49
And of that, only a tiny percentage
00:51
ever goes viral and gets tons of views and becomes a cultural moment.
00:53
So how does it happen?
00:56
Three things:
00:58
tastemakers, communities of participation
01:00
and unexpectedness.
01:02
All right, let's go.
01:04
(Video) Bear Vasquez: Oh, my God. Oh, my God.
01:06
Oh, my God!
01:10
Wooo!
01:13
Ohhhhh, wowwww!
01:15
KA: Last year, Bear Vasquez posted this video
01:20
that he had shot outside his home in Yosemite National Park.
01:22
In 2010, it was viewed 23 million times.
01:25
(Laughter)
01:28
This is a chart of what it looked like
01:30
when it first became popular last summer.
01:32
But he didn't actually set out to make a viral video, Bear.
01:35
He just wanted to share a rainbow.
01:38
Because that's what you do when your name is Yosemite Mountain Bear.
01:40
(Laughter)
01:42
And he had posted lots of nature videos in fact.
01:44
And this video had actually been posted
01:47
all the way back in January.
01:49
So what happened here?
01:52
Jimmy Kimmel actually.
01:54
Jimmy Kimmel posted this tweet
01:56
that would eventually propel the video to be as popular as it would become.
01:58
Because tastemakers like Jimmy Kimmel
02:01
introduce us to new and interesting things
02:04
and bring them to a larger audience.
02:06
(Video) Rebecca Black: ♫ It's Friday, Friday. Gotta get down on Friday. ♫
02:08
♫ Everybody's looking forward to the weekend, weekend. ♫
02:12
♫ Friday, Friday. Gettin' down on Friday. ♫
02:17
KA: So you didn't think that we could actually have this conversation
02:21
without talking about this video I hope.
02:24
Rebecca Black's "Friday" is one of the most popular videos of the year.
02:26
It's been seen nearly 200 million times this year.
02:29
This is a chart of what it looked like.
02:32
And similar to "Double Rainbow,"
02:34
it seems to have just sprouted up out of nowhere.
02:36
So what happened on this day?
02:40
Well it was a Friday, this is true.
02:42
And if you're wondering about those other spikes, those are also Fridays.
02:45
(Laughter)
02:48
But what about this day,
02:53
this one particular Friday?
02:55
Well Tosh.0 picked it up, a lot of blogs starting writing about.
02:57
Michael J. Nelson from Mystery Science Theater
03:00
was one of the first people to post a joke about the video on Twitter.
03:02
But what's important is that an individual or a group of tastemakers
03:06
took a point of view
03:08
and they shared that with a larger audience, accelerating the process.
03:10
And so then this community formed
03:13
of people who shared this big inside joke
03:15
and they started talking about it and doing things with it.
03:17
And now there are 10,000 parodies of "Friday" on YouTube.
03:20
Even in the first seven days,
03:23
there was one parody for every other day of the week.
03:25
(Laughter)
03:28
Unlike the one-way entertainment of the 20th century,
03:32
this community participation
03:35
is how we become a part of the phenomenon --
03:37
either by spreading it or by doing something new with it.
03:39
(Music)
03:42
So "Nyan Cat" is a looped animation
03:51
with looped music.
03:54
It's this, just like this.
03:56
It's been viewed nearly 50 million times this year.
03:58
And if you think that that is weird,
04:02
you should know that there is a three-hour version of this
04:04
that's been viewed four million times.
04:06
(Laughter)
04:08
Even cats were watching this video.
04:11
(Laughter)
04:13
Cats were watching other cats watch this video.
04:17
(Laughter)
04:21
But what's important here
04:29
is the creativity that it inspired
04:32
amongst this techie, geeky Internet culture.
04:34
There were remixes.
04:37
(Laughter)
04:39
Someone made an old timey version.
04:41
(Laughter)
04:44
And then it went international.
04:46
(Laughter)
04:49
An entire remix community sprouted up
05:03
that brought it from being just a stupid joke
05:06
to something that we can all actually be a part of.
05:09
Because we don't just enjoy now,
05:11
we participate.
05:13
And who could have predicted any of this?
05:18
Who could have predicted "Double Rainbow" or Rebecca Black
05:20
or "Nyan Cat?"
05:22
What scripts could you have written
05:24
that would have contained this in it?
05:26
In a world where over two days of video
05:29
get uploaded every minute,
05:31
only that which is truly unique and unexpected
05:33
can stand out in the way that these things have.
05:35
When a friend of mine told me that I needed to see this great video
05:38
about a guy protesting bicycle fines in New York City,
05:41
I admit I wasn't very interested.
05:44
(Video) Casey Niestat: So I got a ticket for not riding in the bike lane,
05:46
but often there are obstructions
05:49
that keep you from properly riding in the bike lane.
05:51
(Laughter)
05:54
KA: By being totally surprising and humorous,
06:08
Casey Niestat got his funny idea and point
06:10
seen five million times.
06:14
And so this approach holds
06:16
for anything new that we do creatively.
06:18
And so it all brings us
06:20
to one big question ...
06:22
(Video) Bear Vasquez: What does this mean?
06:24
Ohhhh.
06:27
(Laughter)
06:29
KA: What does it mean?
06:32
Tastemakers, creative participating communities,
06:35
complete unexpectedness,
06:38
these are characteristics of a new kind of media and a new kind of culture
06:40
where anyone has access
06:43
and the audience defines the popularity.
06:45
I mean, as mentioned earlier,
06:47
one of the biggest stars in the world right now, Justin Bieber,
06:49
got his start on YouTube.
06:51
No one has to green-light your idea.
06:53
And we all now feel some ownership
06:56
in our own pop culture.
06:58
And these are not characteristics of old media,
07:00
and they're barely true of the media of today,
07:02
but they will define the entertainment of the future.
07:05
Thank you.
07:07
(Applause)
07:09

sponsored links

Kevin Allocca - YouTube trends manager
Kevin Allocca watches YouTube videos. For his job.

Why you should listen

Writer and analyst Kevin Allocca works with YouTube Trends, a spot for tracking the latest viral videos -- and connecting to the communities that make the parodies, tributes and reply videos that circle the giant viral planets of the YouTube-iverse.

The original video is available on TED.com
sponsored links

If you need translations, you can install "Google Translate" extension into your Chrome Browser.
Furthermore, you can change playback rate by installing "Video Speed Controller" extension.

Data provided by TED.

This website is owned and operated by Tokyo English Network.
The developer's blog is here.