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The second season of Ain’t That America premieres tonight at 11/10c on MTV2, and if you’re a fan of viral videos, this is definitely a show you’ll want to check out.
Viral videos are a seemingly random entity, but even though viral videos appear to be relatively simple in concept they are, in fact, quite complex. To better understand them I contacted a virologist, who informed that 1) he did not study that type of “viral” and 2) I am very stupid. Not too helpful, that guy. After that I conducted my own study of viral videos (drank beers, watched YouTube) and realized that all viral videos consist of certain characteristics. At least one of five, to be exact (and by exact I mean wildly speculative). If you want your video to go viral, it’s a good idea to have one or more of these five things happen in them.
1. An Epic Fail
People have an inherent desire to see the extraordinary, but for some weird reason “skateboard fail” has more YouTube searches than “aurora borealis.” Go figure. Regardless, people want to see something incredible, and usually that involves something going horribly wrong. Maybe it’s a choreographed dance ruined by slippery floors. Maybe it’s a skateboard trick ruined by gravity, the basic laws of physics, and cold pavement. It doesn’t really matter what happens so long as it involves the hard work and effort of others unravel in a beautiful orchestra of chaos. Imagine how many more views that Eagle wearing a gopro while flying video would have had if the eagle crashed into someone’s groin. A lot more. (DISCLAIMER: We aren’t encouraging people to hurt themselves/others to get on TV.)
The how and why aren’t important, but you’d be remiss to not put an animal in your video, in some capacity. Maybe the video is about the animal. Maybe the animal fulfills some sort of purpose in the video. Or, maybe, it’s just there. It doesn’t matter, just put an animal in your video, no matter what the video is about. Are you filming some pointless instructional video? Something like how to tie a bow? Yawn. Now put a mini pony in it, standing around and eating hay for absolutely no reason as you make no acknowledgement of it whatsoever. It makes no sense, but you’ve just exponentially expanded your views. Don’t ask why, because asking too many questions about the internet is like asking too many questions about time travel, eventually it’ll just cause you to go insane.
This is especially true when it comes to food. If you fill a swimming pool up with Skittles and go all Scrooge McDuck on it, people are bound to watch. Same for if you make an instructional video about how to cook a Thanksgiving turkey, but your recipe includes twenty pounds of bacon. Again, people want to see something incredible, and swimming in Skittles would be nothing short of a dream come true for everyone’s inner child.
Some people like to watch little kids being awesome.
Some people get a kick out of watching little kids be adorably stoned.
And some people like to watch the dreams of children crushed by animals hurting each other. That’s a viral bingo, my friends.
5. The Inexplicable
How do you explain Chocolate Rain to someone? Or the Star Wars kid? Or anything Miley Cyrus put in a music video? This is sort of like the YouTube “it” factor, if “it” was something dumb or weird instead of hot and cool. So the next time you have a cool and creative idea for a video you want to put on YouTube, throw it in the trash and instead do the absolute dumbest thing you can think of. Like this kid: