Find Viral Videos Before They’re Viral

If you're just finding out about the "exploding whale" or "Friday, Friday" you may need this post.
If you're just finding out about the "exploding whale" or "Friday, Friday" you may need this post.

Remember that video curation was supposed to be all the rage last year and 2011? I’m still not seeing it get enough attention, but that will change as online-video consumption moves from desktop to simpler devices: mobile and remote controls. Why? Sans keyboard, it’s just not as easy to self-select videos, so we’ll need simpler controls (more Roku/AppleTV, less Sony’s 400-button, 2-dial TV remote control) … and better aggregators.

The answer lies in a careful mix of three (3) important variables:

  • crowdsourced (liked people like me),
  • editorial (someone whose taste I share) and
  • personalized recommendations based on my history/preferences.

In the meantime, I’ll offer a few favorite places that are directionally close, and invite you to add yours in comments (it’s participation time). Together we can perhaps create an aggregation of aggregators. A curation of curators. Then we’ll create a big ass website that collects them all, and we’ll sell $1 CPM banners on them and become hundredairs.

  • Reddit Videos: The kids at Reddit have good taste. Period. I want to be a Reddit influencer when I grow up.
  • There's no contextual purpose of this photo. I just wanted to get your attention and remind you to list any good places where you discover videos before they're cliches.

    Viral Video Chart is a good way to ensure you aren’t missing anything as vital as the “si, si, si, aquí” kid.

  • ReelSEO’s Jeremy Scott found some good pre-viral sources months ago, so check his list too. It includes:
    • Buzzfeed (see the “going viral” page),  the hiccupporcupine is going viral),
    • Devour (I wasn’t captivated on that one) and
    • Popscreen (which is kinda cool because you can search “now,” 7 days” and “30 days”).
  • eGuiders is a curated site, and I think I am/was an editor. But I forgot.
  • Martin Michalik pulls together the most viral videos on Viral Blog’s “Viral Friday.” At least you’ll know what to talk about on the weekend.
  • Zocial charts videos that are trending in social tweets/posts (Twitter, Facebook). Unfortunately I’d already seen most of what surfaced here.
  • YouTube Charts is a hidden gem on the website. It’s getting harder not easier to find recently popular videos, and instead becoming more “channel and theme” focused. But here’s YouTube “live” and here’s the page that should be more obvious on the website: the “chart” page which allows you to custom rank videos by category (humor, music), by period (day, week, month, all time) and finally by feature (most-viewed, highest rated, most liked).
One of the most valuable functions on YouTube ("charts") is hard to find

And don’t forget that if you’re a bit behind on your memes (viral ideas, behaviors, images, styles), there’s always “Know Your Meme” to catch up. It might not help you understand Jessica Black’s “Friday,” but at least provides some analysis.

If this is the last viral video you remember, then you're on the wrong blog.

P.S. If all else fails, you can check out my crap, watch “webcam girl fail,” or just piss off a few hours watching the stuff too “blue” for America’s Funniest Videos at Failblog.

Eric Stonestreet’s Secret YouTube Account

Okay let’s keep this a secret, okay? Eric Stonestreet has a YouTube account. While the actor hasn’t logged in for the past year (maybe he’s busy?), it includes a delightful collection of his pre-Modern Family work. See cameos in shows you’ll recognize (and their studio’s better not issue a take-down notice), as well as this Arizona Lottery ad posted in the summer of 2009. Even more interestingly he vlogs with his friend Paul, shouting “I love you” as the poor guy returns to work. He’s also doing some shout-outs and beatboxing for peeps on YouTube. But let’s make this clear… he’s not gay.

Eric Stonestreet plays Cameron (right) on Modern Family (photo NYMag)

If you’re a fan of the actor, who plays Cameron Tucker on Modern Family, you may enjoy this Kansas State video, which shows some of Stonestreet’s undergraduate theatrical performances (circa 1996). You’ll see Stonestreet covered in complete purple for a KS recruitment video.

I think Stonestreet (Twitter) is calling himself “Stoney Pizzalot” in these videos, and showcases lots of talents that have not, to my knowledge, been seen via Cameron on Modern Family. Beat boxing? Bring it on Cameron!

Famous YouTube Star’s First Videos

It’s fun to look at the early videos of some of the best-known YouTube personalities of today (and previous years). Unfortunately many have groomed their channel to eliminate some early embarrassments. Still, I’ve done my best to find some old and awkward videos from some of the top creators/channels. Please feel free to add some in the comments, because I’m too exhausted from digging these up (I haven’t figured out an easier way than scrolling page after page). Anyone want to dig up a vintage clip from their favorite creator? Find that first Shaycarl video or LisaNova?

Here’s a video I did in October 2007 where I asked some of my favorite YouTubers to send their childhood photos. It’s funny how some have vanished, and some have gone on to great heights.

Today’s Stars in Pre-Fame Television Commercials

A slightly younger and thinner Jack Black pitches Pitfal (the 10-pixel video game)

It’s hard for stars to hide from cheesy pre-fame television commercials when there’s YouTube, right?

Let’s enjoy a few of their early advertisements, which I’ve spent most of New Year’s Eve compiling for you (winner that I am)

  1. Jack Black doing Pitfall! (best ever)
  2. Lindsay Lohan in a Jello commercial in around 1996
  3. Keanu Reeves doing Kellogs Corn Flakes in 1980s.
  4. Seth Green doing a Nurf ad in 1992 (my favorite)
  5. Dick Van Dyke for Kodak film
  6. Greg Benson’s montage before Mediocrefilms/RetardedPoliceman fame
  7. Ronald Reagan Chesterfield cigarettes (photo not video)
  8. Miranda Cosgrove (iCarly) in Burger King ad
  9. Tom Selleck sponsoring Right Guard
  10. Brad Pitt in Pringles ad (shirtless of course)
  11. Dave Spade and Chris Farley doing DirectTV (not exactly pre-fame)
  12. Jack Benny doing Texaco (too early of a reference for ya?)
  13. Leonardo DiCaprio doing Bubble Gum ad in 1988
  14. Ben Affleck doing Burger King delivery
  15. John Travolta doing a Safeguard soap commercial and promoting Tokyo Drink in this 1980s commercial (obviously he had already established some fame by then)

And two bonuses. Some actors better known for their television commercials than film or television careers. And David Letterman as a pre-talk-show weatherman.

Sources: Commercial Breaks (AOL), LiquidGenerationTube,

I Wuv You (pig video)

I love you. No I WUV you. It’s a rainy Friday morning. What else are you going to do? Make a hypnotic and overly cute pig video with your wife’s sqeeked voice. Duh.

Here’s the song “i wuv you” and you have complete rights to use it anyway you wish. Download it, and let me know what you do with it!

Now kids pay attention. This is a desperate attempt to manufacture viral, and comes with great risks. The goal was to squeeze as much cute into 52 seconds, but ensure I spent no more than 1 hour between concept and upload (and that’s counting the custom score). You know my rule… time spent on a video is inversely related to views (my Scary Maze, shot in 25 minutes, is at 23 million). At least I’m transparent.