Monday, September 17, 2012

What makes a viral video?

Steve Garfield and Ze Frank at Streamy Awards 2010
Image: Steve Garfield and Ze Frank at Streamy Awards 2010

Fast Company interviewed web video pioneer Ze Frank about what he's going to be working on at BuzzFeed.

In addition to saying that he's going to "crack YouTube wide open," Ze talked about what makes a viral video:
Instead of thinking about virality, I think the focus should be on what makes something worth sharing to begin with. I think emotion plays a big role. What do people really love, what gets people to feel something, what sorts of experiences can you give people that they would want to give to someone else--could be a laugh, or a moment of feeling connected to something, a moment of a guilty pleasure, a moment of finding out something about yourself and wanting to see if it is true for someone you care about. Thinking about it on a more personal level keeps the process of making content grounded in something real and approachable, and I think that results in better media overall.
Ze gets it.

Ze's been a proponent of this type of video forever, as have I.

Ze Frank Gets Seen at SXSW 2010
Image: Ze Frank Gets Seen at SXSW 2010

From my start in video blogging in 2004, for me, it's been about capturing and sharing moments. Back then it started out being real and personal. We were connecting with each other and could see how powerful video was for forming relationships.

It's still the same.

It'll be interesting to see what innovations Ze and the Buzzfeed team bring to the video space.

There's so much video out there, there's no way that you can consume it all.

The other day someone asked me what online video I like.

At first I was stumped for an answer.

Was there anything that I could suggest?

Here are a few video web shows, to take a look at, if you want to see what's new in web video:

1. Jerry Seinfeld's Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee

Larry Eats a Pancake - Larry David - Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee
Image: Larry Eats a Pancake - Larry David - Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee

In addition to being well produced, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee hits a lot of the features Ze talked about for videos that are shared. Watching this episode with Larry David, I felt that it was real and personal, and I laughed. Oh did I laugh.

2. Shira Lazar's What's Trending

What's Trending with Shira Lazar
Image: What's Trending with Shira Lazar

Shira is now doing a daily live show, from LA, at 12:00 noon PT every day. In the show she's featuring what's hot on YouTube. Reminds me of my own web video highlight show that I used to produce, back in the early days of web video, Vlog Soup.

Shira's really at the top of her game with What's Trending and was nominated for an Emmy this year.

What video shows or sites do you like?

Let me know in the comments.

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