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The Viral Catalyst

Recently, during a discussion about social media, a client asked me my opinion of youtube. I was surprised, mostly because I never really thought of youtube as a social media before. I’ve been viewing videos there for years but only in the last few months bothered to create an account. I suppose if you create a lot of video it makes more sense, but for a viewer… I don’t see much of a point.

Let me put it another way. I hardly ever find movies on youtube by just being on their site. I am almost always redirected there. It used to be by word-of-mouth or through a “funny videos” website. However, now, I almost always find videos after being directed by a social media website. I admit, I often browse the associated links but nearly all my interaction with youtube is sparked by an outside source. To me, youtube is merely a place to host content, not an interactive site.

The point I’m getting to is this: social media is now the driving force behind taking something “viral”. A viral video will get passed around on twitter, facebook and myspace, til it gains expectotential youtube views. Does youtube spark this kind of behavior? Nope. The network does.

A great example of this is the ever popular Dr. Horrible movie. If you haven’t seen it, you are missing out. With practically no advertising, Dr. Horrible became an instant classic. Where did you find out about it? Through someone else! Often that someone came in the form of a blog post or tweet.

If we step away from pop culture we can see viral type technology uses the engine of social media as well. Ping.fm is a closed website. You have to know someone who knows the “password” if you want to join. In fact, pretty much the only way to find out about Ping is to overhear someone else mention it in a social media forum.

Any business looking to create a forceful presence on the web needs to tap into the social media framework. It is the force that turns the key into unlocking the internet. Of course there are different ways to initiate a viral effect, but I’ll save that for another day.

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One Response to “The Viral Catalyst”

  1. OU Fan Says:

    Keep working ,great job!