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.

Don’t Call it a Viral Video Unless It Goes Viral. Till Then, It’s Just a Promotional Online-Video.

Semantics be important… especially for a relatively novel “space” like online video. For starters, I never much cared for the term “viral” marketing, because it had sick connotation. Like my marketing might make someone sick enough to cough on another hapless patsy. Then comes the term “viral” videos to celebrate the wonderfully horrible videos one couldn’t resist sharing. I created “Viral Video Genius” as a satire, people, and still use the phrase as an inside joke to piss off those too naive to recognize otherwise.

video virus

But still today we see “viral” referring to any video hoping to go virus. That’s just ridiculous, friends. Do you agree? By definition, a video isn’t “viral” unless it gets a lot of views. I used to say 500 to 1 million, but now you pretty much need 5 or 10 million to rise above the noise.

This post was inspired by a Tweet by Chris Brogan. He can’t be our new ZeFrank now because he acknowledged my existence. But Scoble’s up for grabs.

You see this guy, Mose, asked:

mose tweets

Fair question. If someone “seeds it” or pays to have it a preroll on some crappy video-sharing site that serves porn in India, does that count? ChrisBrogan, in a surprise move, punts the question my way:

chris broganNow this was surprising since I never figured Brogan for the type that would know the word “Nalts” (even if I’m kinda famous because I was on today’s eGuider reel with Daisy Whitney, Ben Relles, and that dude who MC’s the DiggNation show I stormed in my underwear. Can you imagine if all the people in “Welcome to eGuider” got together in a room? Would anyone get anything done?

But I digress from my digression. So to Mose and ChrisBrogan, in my infinite 140-character wisdom, I says, “Seeding counts as “viral”; not paid views. Lets call ’em prom online vids (pov) unless they actually go viral (rare).

Then Mose, who clearly has good taste, comes back with:

mose tweets naltsMose is suggesting we use the hashtag #pov to track any activity about “Promotional Online Videos,” a term that’s perhaps more accurate than “viral” when talking about the majority of videos. But having searched POV I’ve decided it must be a porn term, and that is just as well. Maybe this blog post will pick up some accidental traffic, giving me the same satisfaction of creating a “viral” video that had an average view-duration of .04 seconds. Whoops? Another digression. This will be the only post since 2008 that Nutcheese finishes.

Seriously, though. Seriously? Calling a video “viral” before it goes viral is like calling karaoke singers Grammy Winners. One in a million may well be, but let’s call them karaoke singers in the meanwhile.

In a year you won't remember anything I wrote in this post. But you'll still be offended that I used a Japanese woman to illustrate karaoke.
In a year you won't remember anything I wrote in this post. But you'll still be offended that I used a Japanese woman to illustrate karaoke.

Farting Santa and eGuiders Gentleman’s Competition

Check out Edbassmaster’s Farting Santa below… we even get to watch Bob Saget’s reaction.

What’s your favorite video of the week?

I just started to volunteer identify videos for eGuiders (see my profile). My 3 picks:

  • I found Mediocrefilm’s Greg Benson‘s picks and I’ll watch anything he favorites EVER based on these. Cried laughing at one of my favorite videos ever (a French journalist who can’t hold back his laughter in a wonderfully awkward moment with some sex-change peeps).
  • Obama Girl’s Ben Relles picks? Not as good. Sorry Ben.
  • Rhett and Link found a nice duo.
  • Director John Landis had a Michael Jackson pick and a nice remix-movie-trailer site.
  • Shira Lazar chose a Twitter parody, but I didn’t click it. There’s nothing I haven’t heard.
  • Chris Pirillo picked his own video, which is TOTALY cheating.
  • I appear occasionally on “This Week in Media” with Tim Street, so I wasn’t surprised to see he had two good picks.
  • And where the heck is Daisy Whitney?

So I’m thinking eGuiders will work better if people update their picks, and if there’s an incentive to find really good stuff. So I’d like to publicly encourage eGuiders to determine a way for us to compete. Let the viewers decide if our picks suck or if we become a Ninja eGuider. Just figure out a way (beyond me) to not have it become a popularity contest, because then Relles will kick my ass no matter how dull his picks are.

P.S. How come a “Nalts” search on Google doesn’t produce real-time Twitter results like some other people?

How Curated Video is the New Black: Example eGuiders

This is a disjointed post… but I summarized things at the end. Of course the summary makes no sense unless you read it.

So just read it. Geez- you had all last week off. Really?

Yeah, so I’m chatting with one of the YouTube editors last week. Can’t say which one because that would be name dropping. But my video shows up before his if you search his name on YouTube.

  1. Anyway, data point one: This edgy Scottish former comedian* — who fancies “stand-up” comedy as a higher form of art than improv — uses the term “curated content.”
  2. This odd phrase flashed me back to data point two; a recent article (I now can’t find) which outlined how we increasingly need help finding good videos… I think the piece used that “curated” term too. Jan you’ll know where it is because we e-mailed about WVFF helping curate. I suppose that’s what I was doing with CubeBreak (I haven’t touched this in years). But it sounds more topical and valuable when we use the term “curate,” which meant otherwise to refer to a dusty cicada-like man who knows how to use microfiche.
  3. Then today I see data point three: a Tweet by Daisy Whitney alerting me that my Glee video was featured on eGuiders. Yeah, I hadn’t heard of it either.

You need two data points to draw a line, but three is enough to indicate a trend (and you can use that quote if you credit me, or win a free piece of cheese if you can manipulate Chris Brogan into saying it). Hey, Marquis… let’s make Chris Brogan this blog’s new ZeFrank.

So along comes “curating” again… just like the days when YouTube had 2-3 videos on its homepage a day. Mind you, YouTube is wonderful if you know who to watch or how to search for videos. Remember how you’d check daily to see what’s hot? Not anymore. If you’re logged in, it’s one site. If you’re not logged in (like most) then it’s probably one of 10 people spotlighting through the homepage.  I don’t think anyone considers YouTube a curator anymore.

  • It’s not the kind of place a novice will necessarily browse and find the best content like such sites as TheOnion or CollegeHumor… sites you love but often forget you love and so you stop visiting… kinda like a walk in the woods.
  • The “most popular” section won’t necessarily please the masse,s and I find few people digging into the sub navigation. In my “7 Secrets YouTube Doesn’t Want You To Know,” I joked that editors have been replaced with Google algorithms.
  • The reality is that I live and love online-video but I can’t possibly keep up. I rarely miss a massively popular video, but I rely on friends and family to help me find the best stuff… Is that curated video or mini-viral? Are they different ends of a continuum I just invented based on Brogan’s writings?

So here comes today’s lesson (it’s not that I buried the lead, I just have to get there by writing around it).

I see “curated” video as an essential long-term driver of views. One day when my organic regular audience runs screaming, I’ll hope curators send me some love. But here’s the thing… when my video is featured on a YouTube sub-navigation page (like comedy) it maybe picks up only 10-30K views (contrast that with a YouTube homepage feature that would fetch 100-1 million views). That suggests to me that few go to the various pages… maybe they’re too broad or not human like a curator is supposed to be. Maybe if if it was “Mark’s comedy picks,” we’d be more likely to follow them… if we found Mark’s comedic taste to be similar to ours.

Eventually YouTube will actually be accurate when it shows related videos… it will become as useful as Amazon’s “customers that bought that bling also bought this shizzle.” Until then, the curator serves an important role. But since our tastes all vary, there will be lots of curators at first until each category (music, entertainment, comedy) has a few leading curators.

Let’s summarize:

  1. Nalts knows YouTube editors
  2. Curating is important
  3. YouTube isn’t really curating
  4. WilVideoForFood has found a new ZeFrank: Chris Brogan (there’s really no reason… these decisions are arbitrary and not well thought out, but they do stick).
  5. Lots of people will curate (like videos-sharing sites) until there’s a natural thinning of the herd
  6. This post read like a teenager’s recount of a movie

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