Hey it's always nice when old media pays news media some attention and Time has done that coming out with it's Top 10 Viral Videos list but Time didn't do their homework and their list shows how out of touch they are with new media.
I took a look at their list and decided I would examine what I think made these videos viral or not.
#10. Daft Hands
At number 10 with almost 11 million views on YouTube is Daft Hands. This video is a hand jive performed to the tune Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger by French duo Daft Punk. Even though there is lots of "suspense" at the beginning of the video I'm surprised it caught on because it takes about a minute for the action to get started. But once the finger dancing gets going to a snappy beat that builds on lyrics from the opening of the old Six Million Dollar Man TV Show the question. "How did they do that?" pops in your head much like the Diet Coke and Mentos video from years gone by. At that point I think we are dealing with the combination of real suspense, surprise and the simple spectacle of what words with reveal themselves to the songs lyrics and if they will show up on time as the the pair of hands dance. This video does belong on the list.
#9. Clark and Michael
While I think it's great that Time has taped an Online Series for some attention I'm not seeing the views on YouTube that add up to make this series classify as "Viral" maybe they are getting views on another video hosting site but there are many more online video series with more views than Clark and Michael. This video doesn't belong on the list.
#8. Dan Rather Collar Up
When did 300,000 views put a video in the "Viral" category? This is a mildly amusing video that's painfully long to watch. What was Time thinking? I don't think it belongs on the list.
#7. Can't Tase This
While I think "Can't Tase This" is a fun Mashup of the "Don't Tase Me" Phenomenon I don't think it has the views that other "tase" videos do like the University of Florida student Tasered at Kerry forum" It doesn't belong in the Top 10.
#6. I Ran So Far
This SNL Digital Short from Saturday Night Live's Andy Samberg that makes fun of Iran's president might have been one of the all time viral videos on YouTube but we will never know because it got pulled from the online video giant for copyright issues.
I do consider this video to be viral but it's a tough one for me to admit because it comes from traditional media and gets a boost from appearing on Saturday Night Live first. Who knows how many more or less views it would have had if it was posted online first.
Forgetting all that emotional baggage I have about where the video came from and just looking at it on it's own merits I Ran So Far is a true gem. Building on the visit of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to New York's Columbia University where he announced that there no homosexuals in Iran.
Using the music of Adam Levine from Maroon 5 the video "exposes" that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is gay. Playing on the hostile feelings many Americans had about the Iranian's visit to NYC and his comments about homosexuals this video plays on several emotions and was very topical. So for the year it belongs on the list but in the long run I think this video will need too much explaining to have any staying power.
#5. Prison Inmates' "Thriller" Video
When you first watch the prison inmates' "Thriller" with over 9 Million views on YouTube you ask yourself, "Is this for real?" "Why?" "Is this a real prison?" "Why did they let them do this?" "Is that a guy or a girl?" and many other questions that you just can't come up with an answer to right away and those are the things that are really good for creating an online viral video hit. This video belongs in the Top 10.
#4. Hillary 1984
Mashing up Apple's 1984 launch commercial and Hillary's speaches this video moves emotions for Democrats and Republicans as well as Macs and PCs. With over 4 Million views on YouTube this video is a maybe for the list. Although we are approaching an election year... (Feels like we've been in one.)
#3. Miss South Carolina Teen USA
A Sexy dumb blond with over 20 Million views is always going to make a top 10 list and I think this one does indeed belong in the top 10.
#2. The Landlord
One adorable little toddler, one Hollywood Superstar and over 50 million views make this viral video work on many levels. It creates many questions in the viewers head, emotionally engages on several levals and although it's not one of my personal favorites I think it absolutely belongs in the top 10.
#1: Leave Britney Alone!
Over 14 million views on YouTube and depending on who you are an avalanche of human emotions that have spawned many spoof and response videos (some by celebrities) with millions of views of their own and lots of press coverage. Time did get this one right.
Did you have any favorites that didn't make the list?