Updated: Monday, 15 Mar 2010, 1:03 PM CDT
Published : Monday, 15 Mar 2010, 12:08 PM CDT
AUSTIN (KXAN) - As YouTube continues to grow, so do the numbers of amateur videographers hoping to make it big with their own “viral” videos.
Viral videos are those unbelievable Internet tidbits you cannot help but share with your friends and family and so quickly spread like viruses throughout the country.
But according to the SXSW Interactive/Film panel “How to Make a Viral Video”, making your video that captures the mainstream’s attention requires a tested formula and a lot of luck.
Experts in their field, Saturday’s panel consisted of TEDTalks co-creator Jason Wishnow, YouTube Experience Manager Margaret Gould Stewart and OK Go band member Damian Kulash.
Videos go viral, said Stewart, “whenever viewers want to be a part of the distribution.” Therefore, “knowing your audience and their interests is the first step” toward YouTube notoriety.
Stewart added, “Including a universal experience like laughter, love, failure, pets and food will up your chances to be seen. Consider, for instance the proliferation of adorable kitten videos on the internet."
Then try to do something impossible,” said Kulash. Getting at root human emotions like wonder and surprise will capture your audience’s attention.
Kulash is familiar with this concept. His band, OK Go , has gained a rabid following of online fans due to their incredibly creative and unabashedly joyful music videos such as “Here It Goes Again” and “This Too Shall Pass.”
To encourage distribution of your video, all three panelists agreed that building a community is paramount. Sites like failblog.org have cultivated their subscriber base through regular interaction with their audience.
Stewart also encouraged YouTube users to use clear titles and descriptions when tagging videos for submission. Help your viewers find your video easily and logically.
Wishnow reminded the audience in attendance that not all viral videos were created for the purpose of the Internet. Some incredibly memorable videos have been curated from other media such as VHS and DVD recordings of past events.
The presentation ended with the panelists leading the audience in a loving re-enactment of the Surprised Kitten video that went viral several months ago. Unsurprisingly, all 300 in attendance had seen the video.