The viral video is a huge concept these days. It’s not enough for a video to be good, it has to catch everybody’s attention (which it usually does this with some sort of click-baity title). And then the video has to be shared by everyone and their mother on every social media platform until the whole world has seen it and is talking about it. Of course, all this buzz lasts for about two days, and then it’s on to the next big thing, because that’s how short our attention span has become.
When I first got into the whole internet/YouTube thing in university, the whole viral video concept was totally different. I don’t remember hearing the term “viral video” until much, much later. Back then, instead of immensely popular generic videos, it was more common for groups of people to bond over the most obscure videos hidden in the corners of the internet. These videos would become huge inside jokes, and would get quoted on the regular between friends, while people who hadn’t seen it would have no context with which to decipher seemingly random conversations. Humour was a big part of what made these videos work (as is the case now with most viral videos), but the more common through thread was just plain, sheer randomness.
Like this video of “acapella horses” that I will never forget the tune for (that I only just realised is supposed to be a game):
Or this animation of the end of the world as narrated by an angry French man:
Or this song about cows that tells a whole story of rebellion:
Or this dude doing the most enthusiastic lip syncing to a song pretty much everyone made up the lyrics to:
Or this video set to John Williams soundtracks that taught me everything I needed to know about Star Wars until I actually watched Star Wars much, much later:
And so, so, so many more. This may be the old person in me talking, but I just can’t imagine that kids these days can have those sorts of experiences, not with the volume of stuff being produced on a daily basis. I mean, there’s just SO MUCH to see now, I wonder how much really has lasting power.