All posts in “viral video”

The Award for Best Viral Video (should go to): Kony 2012

Patrick Gladney is the Director of Research and Insights at SMG. Follow @pgladney

This past week, unless you were sleeping under a rock, you probably learned about Joseph Kony.  The #kony2012 video produced by Invisible Children is a cross-platform news sensation scoring over 77 million views on YouTube and millions more impressions delivered by mainstream media coverage of the story. Putting all politics and social issues aside, here’s what I think social media marketers can learn from the Kony case:



1)  It all starts with great content.  If there was an Academy Award for the best directed YouTube video, Kony 2012 would win hands down. (I’m sure that if the producers had elected not to circumvent traditional means of distribution, this video would win an award.)   Quality production and artful storytelling both contribute to the viral outcome of this piece of communication, because in social media circles, the most relevant and meaningful content will find a way to reach its target.

2)The power of influence. A bit of a no-brainer here, but when you get celebrities like the big O’s (Obama and Oprah) spreading your content, it can provide a real shot in the arm

3) Targeting is Key. Most people I know first heard about Kony from somebody under the age of 16, which I find fascinating.  A story about children, with a message directed to children, in a medium where youth are spending a lot of time proved to be a powerful combination.  The Kony crisis has been happening for many years, and was frequently reported on in the mainstream press, but it wasn’t until this video came along that the story truly took off.

4) The value of transparency and authenticity.   It was fascinating to watch how quickly this story began to spin, and new angles appeared that put the creators on the spot and needing to defend themselves.  What first started as a story about a humanitarian crisis was quickly subsumed by the social media story about the viral spread of the video.  From there, people started questioning the motivations, credibility and funding model of Invisible Children.  I believe the creators stood up quite well to the pressure, saying this is our funding model,if you would rather go and support laudable organizations like World Vision, then please do so.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Social Media Roundup for December 10, 2010

Welcome to your all-kids themed weekly roundup.

Starting Kids Off Right

Boing Boing posted this picture of a homemade baby quilt designed to look like the iPhone. You can’t ever start them too early! If this is the child’s first blanket, will his first toy be an iPad?

Kids Watch the Darndest Things

Continuing on the kiddie theme, check out the great video we stumbled on this week. From The Fine Bros., the guys who brought you 100 Movie Spoilers in Five Minutes, comes this video in which children are shown some of the most popular recent viral videos (including Double Rainbow) and asked for their reactions, some of which are amazing.

If You Can’t Play Nice, I’ll Take My Caps Lock Key and Go Home

This last one isn’t about actual kids, but rather Google treating its customers like ones. Google announced this week that all their new notebooks made for Chrome will come without a caps lock key. Google’s stated goal is to improve the quality of online conversation, by taking away the choice to use all caps in online conversation. While I can appreciate the effort, people will obviously find a new way to indicate raised voices and outraged tone. Also, this move really makes me want to type in all caps, which I never do, JUST TO REBEL.

Social Media Roundup for November 5, 2010

Yee haw! Calm yourselves, little doggies, it’s time for the weekly Social Media Roundup!

Over 50,000 people check-in to vote

This past Tuesday was the mid-term elections in the US and while races heated up, so did social media. There were a number of cool stories and studies like the New York Times showing how actively users were tweeting about different candidates or Mashable pulling in sentiment statistics for Republicans and Democrats. One of the things that caught our eye was Foursquare offering a special badge for people who checked-in in at a voting location and put #ivoted in their shout out. In the end, 50,416 users checked-in to Foursquare from 23,560 different voting locations. Of course this is a very small percentage of all the people that voted in the US on Tuesday, but could it be a sign of services and things to come? Did you get your iVOTED badge?

Foursquare iVOTED

Foursquare iVOTED via

The Big Tweet Off

Speaking of Foursquare, this Thursday saw debate come alive on Twitter via The Big Tweet Off. The site is the creation of Paul Sutton and Beth Carroll who thought of the idea after an afternoon going back and forth on whether or not Foursquare users were “the modern equivalent of stamp collectors”. The basic idea is that it will be a regular “tweet off” between two people with totally opposing views on a subject debating via Twitter using the hashtag #bigtweetoff. At the end of the debate, those watching the hashtag will be able to vote on who the winner is. What was the topic of the first Big Tweet Off? Foursquare and its ability to be social. After 550 tweets from 90 participants, Foursquare fell. If you’re interested, you can check out the whole debate transcript here. The next Big Tweet Off will be announced soon.

Facebook is your breakup Magic 8 Ball

Let’s face it, dating and relationships are hard work. Many end with a breakup that can sometimes feel like it comes at a completely random time. Or is it random? David McCandless data-mined almost 10,000 different statuses on Facebook and was able to map out the frequency of breakups to show when people are most likely to experience one. Unlucky for all of us, one of the biggest spikes happens about 2 weeks before Christmas. So according to the study, you might find yourself single in about 4 weeks. That said, during Christmas breakups drop down to almost nothing as David thinks it just might be “too cruel”.

Breakups on Facebook

Facebook breakup graph by David McCandless

(via InformationIsBeautiful)

It’s an ear trumpet, not a time traveler

Proving once again that they like to ruin people’s speculation with cold hard facts, scientists this week may have debunked the cell phone using, time traveler video originally posted by George Clarke. In case you missed the video, you can check it out below. Basically, in the video, George speculates that a woman walking in the background of a 1928 film showing the premiere of a Charlie Chaplin film was holding a cell phone. Seeing as it was 1928, his only conclusion was that the woman had to be a time traveler. The video went viral with over 49,000 comments and views approaching 5 million inside a few weeks. Scientists, however, said that the woman in the film was most likely using an ear trumpet which was the hearing aid in the 1920’s. As Gizmodo writer Kyle VanHemert put it, though, “maybe it was a time traveler from the future using an antique ear trumpet…”

(via Gizmodo and Life Science)

Sesame Street: There’s an App for That

Finally this week, Sesame Street proves that it is still cool and up with the times by releasing a song called “There’s an App for That”. The basic idea is that the characters all sing and dance around a really cool new tool called the iPogo that features useful apps for things like combing a cat and cutting butter. For certain, Apple was probably disappointed that it didn’t come out with the idea first. Of course, my first thought was “who really uses a pogo stick anymore?”

And that’s the Social Media Round up for this week. As a parting thought, there are only 50 days until Christmas, will you be checking-in on Foursquare at the mall soon?