What makes some videos into viral mega-hits?

A friend of mine recently alluded to something that he called ‘Charlie bit my finger’ and was astounded when I said that I did not know what he was talking about. He was referring to the video clip below.

The reason my friend was surprised that I had not been aware of it is because it has been viewed nearly a billion times since it was uploaded in 2007. He seemed to think that pretty much everyone on the planet with internet access must have seen it.

I admit that it is a cute video but this reinforces my sense that I have no idea of the internet zeitgeist and what makes things into huge hits.


  1. secondtofirstworld says

    It’s always a lightning in a bottle, that hasn’t changed since. Out of the 80 most viewed videos on YouTube, 77 are music videos, so becoming one of the other 3 is hard, but many try. If I could offer one advice though, don’t watch prank videos, because there has been changes from candid cameras, nowadays “pranksters” think making your friend believe you died or having a woman sexually harassed, or going to the “hood” insulting people of color constitutes as “prank” and “humor”.

  2. says

    In many respects, I suspect that (non-inherited) wealth often works the same way. Yes, they work hard for the wealth, but so do so many we never hear of who don’t happen to get the lucky break and go viral.

  3. mnb0 says

    I’ve been on internet for 17 years now and regularly watch YouTube videos, but I had never heard of this one either. Worse -- now I watched I got bored within half a minute and stopped watching. I don’t care at all for viral videos and this one only confirmed my indifference.

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