For today’s blog post, I’m going to address question 5 about virality: Is humor simply a matter of taste or is it a vehicle?
Humor is a vehicle. I pondered and pondered, but couldn’t come up with one single viral video that wasn’t humorous. Here’s a list of the videos that popped into my mind (with links, for your enjoyment). There may be an exception to the humor vehicle theory, but I honestly can’t think of one, and when I google “Viral Videos 2013”, all the results are funny videos.
- Humor is a vehicle. I can’think of a single viral video that isn’t funny, all the way from the
- Numa Numa video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60og9gwKh1o) (Ma-ia-hii, Ma-ia-huu, Ma-ia-hoo, Ma-ia-haha! And you have to pump your arms at the same time).
- “Can’t Hug Every Cat” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sP4NMoJcFd4) (I love cats, I love every kind of cat!)
- Holderness’ Christmas Jammies video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kjoUjOHjPI) (In my Christmas Jammies!)
- Hair Curling Fail (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdVuSvZOqXM) (the great look she gives the camera when she realizes she’s still filming, and the fact that it takes her like 30 seconds to register that she burnt off the hair, and the fact that she didn’t notice the little tendril of smoke when she had the wand in her hair).
- “What Does the Fox Say?” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jofNR_WkoCE) (What does the fox say! Gering-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding!)
- Kid President Pep Talk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-gQLqv9f4o) (Not cool, Robert Frost!)
- Taylor Swift’s “Trouble” Goat Edition: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCv-HxktZFc)
There’s a few reasons why humor is a vehicle:
1. It’ easy to remember.
Who can forget “What does the fox say?” That’s an easy rhyme, and the song will get stuck in your head. It’s easy to search, easy to quote, and easy to share.
2. People will watch it over and over again.
How many times did you watch Taylor Swift’s “Trouble” song with the goat? It’s kind of addicting. You just want to see it again and again. That boosts the number of views, which translates into virality.
3. People are more likely to share something funny with friends than something serious
Let’s say someone made a Christmas YouTube video of their family that was really traditional and serious. You probably wouldn’t share it with your friends because they wouldn’t really care. If you share something humorous, like the Christmas Jammies Video, then they’ll care more. Also, no one wants to be that preachy friend who’s always talking about serious stuff. Sometimes people just want to be that fun friend who makes you smile, so they share a funny video with you. The more times the video is shared, the more viral it is. The world is pretty serious already, so there’s a demand for funny movies so every can take a breath a relax for a 2-minute YouTube video.
Also, usually videos are shared with social media. Usually when people are on their social media, it’s when they need a break from something, like work, or homework, or just life. So they go online. They don’t want to share serious things as often as they want to share fun things.
4. It’s easy to connect over something humorous; it’s relatable.
OK, one more video. My friends and I really relate with “Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That”
(Really only the first minute and a half are important. Please excuse the language in the middle part of the video. Skip 1:23-1:29 and 1:46-2:04 to avoid the part where she takes the Lord’s name in vain. A lot of people just don’t know better than to do that).
Sometimes, when a teacher assigns something that seems like busy work, my friends and I will say to each other, “Ain’t nobody got time for dat!” Or, when we’re feeling stressed about all the things we have to do, we’ll quote the movie again. It’s easy to connect, we can quote it together, and we can relate to the quote.
All in all, there may be an exception to the humor as a vehicle rule, but I honestly thing that nine times out of ten, you’ll need humor as a vehicle to make something go viral in social media.