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The Rise of Viral Videos: Why They Matter and What Makes Them Successful


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In the digital age, viral videos have become a cultural phenomenon. From the hilarious to the heart-wrenching, millions of people around the world tune in to watch and share videos that capture their attention. 

But what is it that makes a video go viral? How do they manage to attract such a wide audience so quickly? In this blog post, we explore the elements that make a viral video successful, and why they matter in today's ever-evolving entertainment landscape.

1. Three Elements for Viral Success:

There are three key elements that are essential to making a video go viral: tastemakers, communities of participation, and unexpectedness. Tastemakers are individuals or groups with significant influence over a specific audience. They play a crucial role in promoting videos and popularizing them with targeted viewership. For example, Jimmy Kimmel's show has repeatedly brought viral sensations to the attention of the mainstream public.

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Communities of participation can also be an important driver for a video's virality. Participatory culture involves audiences actively engaging with media content and creating their own derivatives of it. This can often lead to the creation of viral memes and challenges. 

With the rise of social media platforms such as YouTube, Instagram and Tiktok, more and more people are exploring content creation and sharing their own unique perspectives with the world. It’s exciting to see how this digital landscape continues to evolve and shape the way we consume and engage with media.

Unexpectedness is the third key ingredient for creating a viral video. When something is unexpected, it takes viewers by surprise, ignites their curiosity and can create an emotional response. A classic example is the "Double Rainbow" video by Bear Vasquez, which created a buzz due to the surreal and unplanned nature of the footage. Unexpectedness is key in creating a video that goes viral. Although there is no guaranteed formula for success, understanding these three elements can certainly increase the chances of a video making it big. 

2. Creative Participation:

Creativity plays a crucial role in driving viral videos. Whether it's through innovative storytelling, epic videography, or the use of humour, creative content is what makes a video stand out from the crowd. One example of this is Casey Neistat's video protesting New York City's bike lane system, in which he creatively highlights the dangers cyclists face. He made a video that was riveting, compelling and truly authentic.

Watching five million people view his video was a testament to the power of creative participation. It showed me that sometimes, the most effective way to make an impact is to think outside the box and approach an important topic with a fresh perspective. 

Humour and surprise can also be potent drivers for video views. In certain cases, a well-placed joke or outlandish twist can keep viewers coming back for more. For example, the video "Charlie Bit My Finger" was successful due to the unexpected humour in the story.

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3. The Accessibility of YouTube:

YouTube has revolutionized how videos are consumed and shared, democratizing access to fame for people from all walks of life. Now, anyone with a smartphone and a great idea can be the next viral sensation - as we saw with Justin Bieber, who got his start through postings of his music videos to YouTube. This access level to the entertainment industry has implications for aspiring creatives and the traditional structure of entertainment.

The fact that he was able to use this accessible platform without the need for any pre-approval is nothing short of inspiring. It just goes to show that with enough talent and determination, anyone can make it big in the entertainment industry. I couldn't help but think about how many more talented individuals are yet to be discovered on YouTube or any other similar platforms out there. 


The entertainment industry is rapidly evolving and the characteristics of the future entertainment options have become crystal clear. 

Viewer engagement will be at the core of these entertainment options, as they will aim to provide an interactive and immersive experience to the audience. The incorporation of advanced technologies such as virtual and augmented reality will take the level of engagement a step further, allowing the audience to become a part of the action. The entertainment industry will also prioritize personalization, offering customized experiences based on the viewer's preferences.

Viral videos continue to be an essential component of contemporary culture. They have changed how we engage with media and are a powerful tool for creative expression. 

Through this blog post, I have explored the elements that contribute to the success of viral videos, including tastemakers, communities of participation, and unexpectedness. Additionally, we saw how creativity and accessibility on YouTube can help to reshape the entertainment industry in new and exciting ways.

So, dear reader, what's your favourite viral video? Leave your comments and suggestions below and let's continue the conversation about the power of viral videos in today's media landscape.

About the author

Andrea Riezzo

I'm Andrea Riezzo, and I want to share my passion for creativity, inspiration, and design with you. As a creative, I've always been fascinated by the power of graphic and web design, social media, and photography to tell engaging stories and capture the imagination.

With 15+ years of experience in the industry, I've developed a deep understanding of what it takes to create designs that grab attention and leave a lasting impression. My expertise as a freelance graphic - web designer has enabled me to work on some truly incredible projects, and I've had the pleasure of collaborating with some amazing clients over the years.

So let's dive in and create something truly amazing - because when it comes to creativity, the possibilities are endless.

You can find me on LinkedIn, Instagram, Behance or Threads