Kevin Allocca, the trends manager at YouTube puts forward three ideas of why he believes videos can go viral in his fun talk at the TED conference. He mentions that there are 48 hours of video uploaded per minute to YouTube.com and of that content only a tiny percentage actually goes viral, receiving over 1 million views.
He outlines the three consistent reasons to be.
These are the people that Malcolm Gladwell refers to in his chapter on the law of the few. These people have many friends or followers and they are a trusted source of information or knowledge, whether that is technical or just social awareness. These people like celebrities make a comment or posting to the internet and many others pick up on it and begin the spread of the update. This of course today is made all the more easy with sites like Facebook, Wordpress and Twitter.
Community involvement whether through spreading the new conversation or actively editing and adapting it to make our own interpretation, is part of what being in a community of people is all about. Inspiring others to interpret an idea is really what participation is all about. Today's online communities now like to not only consume content but actively participate in the trend and social conversations.
This is part of what makes an idea Sticky. Again referencing Malcolm Gladwell's idea of ideas being sticky, and the book that Dan and Chip Heath dedicated to the subject this is where idea lives in your mind not as a passing thought but as a story with a twist. It has more touch points in your memory and it is more stimulating than something without the unexpected happening.
Today's media allows anyone to have access and the audience is no longer passive consumers of content but contributors with a drive to participate. Kevin concludes with the prediction that these new ways of following and adding to pop culture will start to define the future of entertainment.