We normally try to steer clear of political hot buttons on this business blog, and will make every attempt to do so here, as well. What I want to focus on is the amazing reach of a single idea, and and how that idea quickly splintered into reactions and investigations and rumor and innuendo and inevitable humor and satire, all within 24-48 hours. That, my friends, is viral. Or as we say in New England, wicked viral.
An interesting summary of the situation can be read here, and some intelligent comments on both sides of the argument follow. So I will not recapitulate the matter here, nor express my opinion on it (which is, in fact, still being formulated.) Rather, I would like to examine the social media impact of this phenomenon.
The video first caught my attention via an article on FastCompany.com on March 7. By the time I watched the video, it had already been viewed by half a million people since its appearance on March 5. Within an hour of sharing it on my Facebook page, a friend posted a comment, with a link to another article, which suggested that the makers of the video, and their cause, were not exactly as they presented themselves to be. After reading that article, a few thoughts came to mind:
- The power of a well-produced video is so compelling. Upon first view, my reaction was not to do more research, or ask any follow-up questions. In my mind, the video had shown me enough to warrant my desire to share it with others, thus helping the cause of the organization that created and posted it. That’s a powerful video.
- At this writing, the original video has almost 28 million views on YouTube, and almost 17 million more on Vimeo, just 6 days after its initial appearance. Is it possible to capture that kind of lightning in a bottle on a regular basis?
- It will be interesting to see how much traction their movement gets before April 20 – the day the organization has targeted for having their message blanket the physical world, in addition to the cyber world. As a marketing case study, this one is a beaut!
So, the question is, is this a matter of a well-made video, introduced initially to a number of the right influencers in the worlds of politics and entertainment, then snowballing into a viral phenomenon? Is the actual subject of the video that drove its popularity, or was it the execution of a great content packaging and release strategy?
— Chuck Dennis