Viral Videos – Emotion and Scarcity

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Looking through the videos I watch on YouTube and other social media sites they all provoke some type of emotion that makes me want to watch it and share it. Though, how does one simple identify what emotion has a greater effect on the viewer – enough to make them continue watching and share it?

There is the idea that each individual has their own taste in videos – as they do in other aspects of their lives such as clothes, food and friends. Though when it comes to the basic human emotions, they are universally understood regardless of individuality, these emotions are Anger, Disgust, Fear, Happiness, Sadness and Surprise – utilizing these emotions and providing a way to evoke them in videos is seen to be a constant concept if wanting to make a video go viral.

In this post by Sprout Social, making videos resonate with the viewer is a basic step in ensuring some views and in achieving a successful video – though resonating emotion is not enough. Contrasted by this Quartz article coincidentally named “The secret to viral success is there is no secret to viral success” breaking down the idea that the popularity of anything viral on the internet is the collective combination of popular past ideas and adding a little twist.

Quarts post mentions that the idea of makes something viral – when dealing with advertising, is scarcity and keeping a secret idea, much like taking something already made and adding some “secrets” to it to create a new product. As understandable as it works for products the idea for multiple viral videos to be taken from one simple idea falls short – such as the Harlem Shake – everyday there was more and more videos relating to the Harlem Shake from places all over the world in all different styles – people lost interest, the Harlem Shake was no longer scarce so therefore no longer unique and interesting to share.

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One response »

  1. I definitely agree!!! There is no precedent for what will become viral or successful in terms of videos that appear online… One time its the Harlem Shake, and then next could be a dog doing something cute, funny or ridiculous… We just cannot predict what will become viral and what will not. Although, I do also agree with what you say about an individual’s taste in videos. I certainly have a particular taste when searching for videos on Youtube (mainly I stick to music, or funny dogs (yes I admit)) but sometimes I just can’t help looking at an entertaining viral vid once in a while.

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