Manufacturing the meme: Can you create Web virality?

Manufacturing the meme: Can you create Web virality?

We cover a lot of viral videos here on Digital Trends, and most times it’s not even because we need to but because we simply had to share them. Viral videos, pictures, and Internet memes have wildly blown through the Web in the past half decade and left the rest of us wondering: Can you manufacture virality?

This was the topic of discussion at one of the first panels to kick of Internet Week New York 2012 as “Viral Television” was lead by Pat Cassels from CollegeHumor, Billy Eichner from Funny or Die’s Billy on the Street, and comedians Seth Herzog and Adam Neuhaus. The four joked their way through the talk, jabbing their inputs at what makes things viral and if you can optimize your content to become a worldwide phenomenon.

“The Internet tends like to science fiction, sex, cats,” Herzog said. “I feel like there is a math formula to it but no one knows what it is.”

Viral Television: Adam Neuhaus, Billy Eichner, Seth Herzog, and Pat Cassels Eichner, whose show ventured into the television realm after Fuse picked up his series, features him asking ridiculous pop culture questions to unsuspecting people on the street. He believes a lot of virality has to do with timeliness and relevance as well as something reactionary that everyone can adapt into their own voice. Billy on the Street started out on the Web before he made his topics about the Oscars one day, which made the content more “bloggable” to viewers to share and have an input.

“You go from planking to Tebowing to Sh*t White Girls Say and a lot of these started in the last two years,” Neusaus said of the memes that received spinoffs from around world. “People participate on their own.”

There are two categories of viral videos: Those that aren’t supposed to be seen by anyone and others that are created specifically to get passed around the Web. The discussion also leaned toward comedic content as more of a successful viral factor because laughter “is quicker” and can immediately grab the Internet’s attention span in a world full of generic videos, photos, and one-liners off Twitter. And that’s exactly where the panelists believe people should market and share their viral content as well.

“If you follow the right people, it’s a great filter for finding out what’s happening,” Herzog said. “That’s where I find what’s viral.” Using the judgement of friends and trusted sources help add credibility that the content shared is worth viewing.

With everyone taking to Twitter to react to major news, it’s also harder for content producers to be original when the same joke could be made on the social media site in 140 characters or less. What makes videos stand out is the idea or a joke that can be fleshed out and is worthy of a few minutes in motion picture. If the idea can be delivered as a tweet, the panelists simply believe “you’re screwed.”

So how can you turn something into what’s bigger than a tweet? Shifting the focus back on the panel’s title of Viral Television, the four speakers focuses on repetition of characters and likable charms of television personality, hoping a spinoff can organically spawn on its own. Take for example, Parks and Recreation‘s Ron Swanson who inspired a wooden mustache comb in honor of his iconic facial hair or the Mad Men YouTube 8-bit Choose-Your-Own-Adventure game. The quirks about each characters on the show may not necessarily make the show, but collectively allow for enjoyment for both on television, the Web, and even in real life.

To catch a recording of the full Viral Television discussion at Internet Week New York, visit the official Livestream for a full recap.

Social Media

This event topped Facebook’s biggest moments of the year — again

As the year comes to a close, Facebook is looking back on what users discussed most over the last year. For two years in a row, International Women's Day topped the list. So what else is on the list?

How to make a clan in ‘Destiny 2’ and where to go from there

Want to know how to make a clan in 'Destiny 2'? Here's everything you need to know, including how to design your clan's banner, earn extra loot, and help other players with guided games.
Movies & TV

The best Amazon Original series, from 'Bosch' to 'Transparent'

Amazon Studios may not have as big a collection of in-house productions as Netflix, but there are still lots of shows worthy of your eyeballs. Here are our picks for the best Amazon original series.
Home Theater

Looking for the best 4K Ultra HD TVs you can buy? Here are five great options

If it's time to upgrade your old 1080p to a new 4K model but you don't know what to look for, fear not, as we're here with a list of the best 4K Ultra HD TVs to help make your buying process as easy as possible.
Movies & TV

Out of movies to binge? Our staff picks the best flicks on Hulu right now

From classics to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.
Social Media

This band owns Twitter, according to list of top accounts and tweets for 2018

What was the biggest buzz on Twitter in 2018? Twitter's 2018 Year in Review highlights the biggest tweets, accounts, and hashtags. The most-tweeted celebrities, movies, TV shows, athletes, politicians and more in Twitter's 2018 trends.
Social Media

What do yodeling and Kylie Jenner have in common? YouTube’s top 2018 videos

In a true nod to the variety found on YouTube, the platform's top 10 list of videos from 2018 range from celebrities to sports, from perfectly tossing a picture frame on the wall to a kid yodeling in aisle 12 at Walmart.
Home Theater

It took Tom Cruise to raise awareness of this troublesome TV setting

Tom Cruise, in an unexpected PSA tweet, asks you to turn off motion interpolation on your TV, but stops short of how to do it. Here's more on the topic, along with links to a guide on how to rid your TV of the dreaded "soap opera effect."

Make a GIF of your favorite YouTube video with these great tools

Making a GIF from a YouTube video is easier today than ever, but choosing the right tool for the job isn't always so simple. In this guide, we'll teach you how to make a GIF from a YouTube video with our two favorite online tools.

Amazon scouted airport locations for its cashier-free Amazon Go stores

Representatives of Amazon Go checkout-free retail stores connected with officials at Los Angeles and San Jose airports in June to discuss the possibility of cashier-free grab-and-go locations in busy terminals.
Social Media

Snapchat facial recognition could soon power a new portrait mode, code suggests

Digging into Snapchat's code suggests a handful of upcoming camera features, including a portrait mode. The feature appears to use facial recognition A.I. to blur the background. The code also suggests an updated camera interface.

Google+ continues to sink with a second massive data breach. Abandon ship now

Google+ was scheduled to shut its doors in August 2019, but the second security breach in only a few months has caused the company to move its plan forward a few months. It might be a good idea to delete your account sooner than later.
Social Media

Walkie-talkie voice messaging finally comes to Instagram

In its latest grab from messaging apps, Instagram now lets you send walkie-talkie style voice messages. Apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Snapchat, and iMessage have offered the feature for some time.
Social Media

‘YouTube Rewind 2018’ is about to become its most disliked video ever

YouTube is about to achieve a record it really doesn't want — that of "most-disliked video." Yes, its annual recap of featuring popular YouTubers has gone down really badly this year.