Geoffrey, would you come in here for a moment?
Geoffrey, I want you to draft a press release for me.
- A press release, sir?
A press release, Geoffrey. A press release recounting how the internet nearly exploded from the overnight viral success of our latest video.
- You mean the video with 20,000 views, sir?
That’s precisely the video I mean, Geoffrey.
- But sir, 20,000 views is hardly a remarkable view count nowadays. It’s not bad, but it’s hardly something worth calling viral.
Geoffrey, do you know what the minimum threshold is for calling a video viral?
- A million views?
Still not there.
- I don’t think I understand.
It’s quite simple. If my video has 500 views in total, and 100 views came from an external link on a third-party blog, then my video has 100 viral views. More precisely, 1/5th of my video’s views are viral. If 200 of those 500 views came from third-parties, my video is 2/5th’s viral.
- So it’s less about the total view and more about the fraction; am I correct, sir?
You’re almost there, Geoffrey, but you’re still not quite getting the big picture. You see, no one really cares about how many views OR the percentage of which came from external links as long as you stress the word “viral.” People love feeling like they’re up to date on the latest trends, so saying that your video “nearly blew the internet off its hinges from the outpouring of viral views” will ensure that early adopters, social media mavens, influentials, and cultural gatekeepers will take notice!
- Something tells me it’s not as easy as all that, sir.
How do you mean?
- The fact that a video called “Me humming the theme to Out Of This World for 10 hours” managed to receive 20,000 views is pretty remarkable. I would have assumed that anyone who would bother clicking on a 10 hour video would be too young to know anything about the time-stopping misadventures of Evie Garland.
Don’t underestimate the retroactive nostalgia powers of today’s youth, Geoffrey. Whether or not they were around to witness the thing the first time around isn’t important as long as you suggest that the thing is worth being nostalgic about. When Family Guy references Small Wonder, do you think the kids today remember the show?
When all these meme-loving kids make “In Soviet Russia” jokes, do you think any of them realize they’re rehashing an old Yakov Smirnoff bit?
- I think so.
But do you think they remember when this was current?
- Of course not! They weren’t even born yet.
Precisely the point! Simply referencing something from the late 80s today carries the same cultural cache as referencing the 60s did in the 90s.
- I don’t know what you mean, sir. I wasn’t alive in the 90s.
How old are you, Geoffrey?
- I’m three and a half, sir.
Three and half?! How can that be?
- I’m your cat, sir. Remember?
That would explain all the typos in your reports. Here I thought your use of lolspeak was just a misguided attempt at sounding “with it.”
- Oh! It was. Should I not be doing that?
What have I told you about acting like a stereotype, Geoffrey? It’s demeaning for both of us.
- Duly noted, sir.