Making a video viral

todayviral The headline above is deliberate in the order in which I put the two key words: ‘video’ and ‘viral.’

I hear a lot of talk about viral videos, as in “We’re creating a viral video.” And my new favourite which I heard last week: “We’re going to viral the campaign.”

(Proof that you can do amazing things with the English language.)

The latest such talk is today and the Inside Today video created by the Rubber Republic agency for BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Much of the talk I see online is about creating a viral video. But there’s no such thing as ‘creating a viral video’!

You can create a video, which is what Rubber Republic have done for the Today programme. If enough people start talking about the video online, and linking to it, it might enjoy a viral effect with talk spreading via a variety of communication channels.

The Wikipedia definition of ‘viral video’ makes the point:

A viral video is a video clip that gains widespread popularity through the process of Internet sharing, typically through email or Instant messaging, blogs and other media sharing websites.

That’s what’s happening today – plenty of online talk about the video generating a lot of buzz. So it seems to be enjoying a viral effect although it’s arguable that such talk isn’t really widespread, but mostly via Twitter and tracked on the hashtag #todayviral.

Let’s get our terminology and understanding right. And maybe help the Today programme, who say they are doing this as an experiment to see how viral ads work.

Hopefully, they’ll share their learning soon.

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