Three Keys to Viral Video Success


TED 2012The annual TED (Technology/Entertainment/Design) conference has been taking place this week in southern California, and I had the opportunity to watch a portion of it at a TEDLive event at Queen City Forward in Charlotte. A few of the talks from this year’s conference have already been posted online (be sure to check out Peter Diamandis and Paul Gilding), in addition to the continuous stream of excellent talks from other TED and TEDx events from around the world.

One of the best TED videos posted this week features YouTube’s trends manager Kevin Allocca speaking at last year’s TEDYouth event on “Why videos go viral.” As Allocca entertainingly explains (in just 7 minutes), the three keys to viral video success are:

  1. Tastemakers — famous people promoting your video to their large audiences
  2. Communities of Participation — the Web community jumping on board en masse and remixing your video
  3. Unexpectedness — basically, the X factor; your video shows something totally unexpected and/or something unexpected happens that propels your video to super-stardom

The line from Allocca’s TED talk that I want to highlight is this: “We don’t just enjoy now, we participate.”

The Web has not only enabled us to engage with information and media/content, but that enabling literally is moving us from being merely consumers (or enjoyers) to being co-creators and participants. We all have cognitive surplus, right? So let’s use some of that to contribute rather than just consume.


Irony Alert: Thank you for consuming this blog post! Now … What are you going to create? Any ideas for videos that could go viral?



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Posted on 03-01-2012

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