Have you seen this video?
It’s a simple enough question, but how many times have you heard it in a day at the office, at school and even at home?
From Charlie Bit my Finger to the recent Gangnam Style and Brazilian Elevator prank, memes and videos become popular trends based on word of mouth. I never heard of PSY and not having cable, am unable to watch MTV. I only heard about Gangnam from a seminar discussing cultural exports and imports. A week later at a game night with some friends, we were huddled around a laptop, laughing at the recent Romney rendition of Gangnam style.
These videos become popular based on who sees them first and who tells their friends. Much like Fashion trends, and what’s the popular toy or movie of the year, it’s all about communication.
Not press releases or news casts but rather the popular communication and word of mouth. Most of the games that I’ve played were introduced to me through my friends, my love of all things Reddit r/corgi came from a friend introducing me to the wonderful source of my adorable animal picture obsession.
But do we ever search out things anymore or do we solely rely on our friends to find us the latest laugh and cute baby dancing video?
How often do we find a video and then share it with friends? Even older videos like Charlie Bit My Finger I’ve shown to my family a couple of times as least. Much of my entertainment is based on Internet videos and memes.
The video has been viewed more than 417 million times, (according to ibtimes.com) so it must be doing something right to get this kind of viewership. What common elements do these memes and videos have that lend to their popularity?
For me, it’s humor. It’s oddity. It’s hilarity. When Harry puts his finger back in front of Charlie’s face and Charlie bites him again, we can’t help but laugh. It strikes a core human desire to make others around us laugh. We share, we communicate and we laugh together. We seek others to connect to and what’s a better ice breaker than a laugh? I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met and become fast friends with based on a conversation where we found common ground and a common sense of humor through Internet videos.
It usually starts off with the general what’s your name, occupation, where you are you from and then it gets a little awkward as you struggle to find commonalities. You talk about the news with no excitement, the weather and then get back to that awkward pause, then you take a chance and mention of popular video on the web, like Romney Style or Corgi Flop. She knows it too. You find a common ground and a chance to laugh together and connect. The awkwardness fades away as laughter takes over.
Do you find this pattern to be true for you? How do your conversations usually go?