What Made People Click In 2010

The Top Ten YouTube Videos of 2010 have been announced, and it makes interesting reading for those who are keen to tap into what makes people click, literally and figuratively when it comes to viral digital content.  These videos would have been shared via websites, social media and traditional e-mail.  They give us an insight into what it takes to make people give a few minutes of your life to watch a short video.  What can we learn from these choices?

“The most-watched YouTube videos of 2010 reflect the people, places and events that captured our attention and imagination throughout the year,” said Mia Quagliarello, YouTube Community Manager. “YouTube has become the world’s town square – a place where culture is created and shared. It’s a sign of YouTube’s growing importance as a platform for content creation that six of the top 10 most-watched videos globally were made-for-YouTube originals.”

Here’s the list of the Top Ten starting with the winner:

1. YouTube bed intruder song. Click HERE to watch.

2. Tik Tok Ke$ha Parody. Click HERE to watch.

3. Greyson Chance singing “Paparazzi.” Click HERE to watch.

4. Annoying Orange – Whazzup? Click HERE to watch.

5. Old Spice: The Man Your Man Could Smell Like. Click HERE to watch.

6. Yosemitebear Mountain Giant Double Rainbow 1-8-10. Click HERE to watch.

7. OK Go – This Too Shall Pass – Rube Goldberg Machine version. Click HERE to watch.

8. The Twilight Saga – “Eclipse” trailer. Click HERE to watch.

9. Jimmy Surprises Bieber Fans. Click HERE to watch.

10. Ken Block’s Gymkhana THREE, Part 2; Ultimate Playground; l’Autodrome, France. Click HERE to watch.

Key lessons

1.  Humour

Four of the Top Five videos were based on humour, mainly parody.  The top video arose from Antoine Dodson’s dramatic reaction to a local crime has spawned the most-watched YouTube video of the year, excepting music videos. When Dodson, a 24-year-old Alabama student, gave an angry TV interview about an attempted rape against his younger sister, he became a viral hit. When a video turned that rant into an auto-tuned song, “Bed Intruder Song,” Dodson became a full-fledged Internet sensation.The “Bed Intruder Song” is the top YouTube video of the year, the Google Inc.-owned company announced Monday. YouTube added the view counts for two versions of the video, which put its total at over 61 million views. (More from Yahoo here)

This tells me that people like a good laugh.  Church folk, on average, are perceived as not being up for a laugh.  It’s all too serious.  Lighten up folks.  We won’t be taken seriously if we are too serious.  I know it sounds contradictory, but its true.

2.  Parody

People enjoy good parody, taking the mickey, (insert your own idiom).  Repeating my theme from above, we take ourselves too seriously.  A lot of media created by Christians is very serious, very meaningful, very emotive.  Perhaps that connects with us, but does it connect with the world outside?  I suggest that apart from lightening up, we learn to use parody and satire.  I know its a fine line to walk.  I can heartily recommend Michael Frost’s ‘Jesus The Fool’.  Its such a good book I’ve bought it twice.  I left the first one on a plane, the second is protected by 24hour armed response security.  (That was an attempt at humour, just in case you wondered…)

3.  Recycling

Most of the Top Ten videos were material that originally existed that had become a viral hit, remixed.  In other words, a very clever bunch of opportunists are jumping on the back of phenomenon and creating their own from that.  They have become good at seeing good material to recycle.  Reminds me of Paul in Athens…..(see Acts 17)

4.  Brilliance

When 13-year-old Greyson Chance posted a clip of himself performing Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” on YouTube in April, he never dreamed that the video would become a viral sensation viewed by more than 28 million people. The clip, shot by Greyson’s dad, shows the Cheyenne Middle School sixth-grader at the piano, singing his heart out at a choir event as the female-dominated audience looks on slack-jawed with amazement. During Greyson’s second appearance on The Ellen Degeneres Show a week later, DeGeneres announced that he was to become the first artist signed to her newly formed label eleveneleven Records, which will release his first single this fall on eleveneleven, Maverick and Geffen Records. Read the rest of his new life at his own website here.  His latest single “Waiting Outside The Lines’ is selling now.

What does this tell me (apart from the viral nature of the web and how it can shoot you to fame overnight).  It tells me that sometimes to catch people’s attention you need to be very good at what you do, an exceptional talent.. That’s where God comes in.  He gives us gifts, and we can use them to his glory. I’m not very talented myself, but I love unearthing it.  Bring out the talent folks.  All too often, we have people NOT gifted to do certain things in the church – doing them!  It’s ok to recognise gifting – after all God gave it.  Ken Block’s Gymkhana video (car stunts) is another one of the Top Ten that made it simply because he is good!

What do you learn from this list (apart form the fact that some people have got plenty of time on their hands?).