Research shows that there are quite a few things the Modern Man cannot live without: air, water, food, shelter, and of course, social media. For many people in the crowd, the day begins with a morning post, and the last thing to do on their list is the same. Many blogs operate the same way- they focus on the details of life. The trick is to take the same mundane aspect and present it in a way that captures the beauty and brings back the lost sensations. People living across worlds keep in touch with one another and live vicariously through each other.
Though this remains the most popular application of social media, it isn’t the only one. Various enterprises use social media as an advertising tool and reaping long-term benefits of reaching out to the audience. One such fool-proof way is through viral videos. Videos are one of the most frequently shared items over networks. Youtube, Facebook and Buzzfeed rate high on the list of social sites that receive and share videos.
So, what is this ‘viral’ video anyway? Is it like an infection that spreads rapidly and takes the viewer in its grip? Does it cause fever? Is it contagious? Pretty much, yes. A ‘viral’ video is one that gains instant fame by being constantly shared by people on social media. It is like an online ‘fever’ that rages on, moving from one person to another, until it has spread to epidemic proportions to all within its reach.
But the definition of viral videos has shifted from what it was a few years ago to what it is today. Earlier, ‘Nalts’ from Youtube commented that a few years ago, a video was said to have ‘gone viral’ if it managed to secure a million views. As of 2011, he set the number at 5 million hits within a week. Today, a video goes viral in a matter of a few hours. Music videos collect tens of millions of hits within mere hours of their release.
Such videos also include educational and informative clips and news reports considered valuable. But most watched ones are usually funny, entertaining and of an uplifting nature, hence keep the viewer glued to the screen. Even ex-President Obama resorted to them during his electoral campaign back in 2008. Their universal appeal lies in their cost-effective procedure and easy access.
But many-a-times it so happens that such videos are used to publicise normal people and cast them in an unfavourable light. This unfair means leads to cyber bullying and disturbs the rhythm of the victim’s life. We often hear of such misconduct and the resulting disruption. Six out of ten times both, the victim as well as those at fault, are children below 16 years of age.
It is for the smart browser to judge if the contents of a viral video are worth sharing. What is food for one man, may just as well be poison to another.