Viral Videos are often silly and, sometimes, shallow.

Yeah, we know – Charlie bit my finger, again and again and again…My cat dresses in a shark’s outfit and rides a vacuum cleaner, again and again and again…

These quirky elements play an important part in our subculture; but, what’s the attraction to this viral content?

What turns these random videos into viral videos?

I guess the short answer is ‘distraction’. It’s a light, quick fix on the bus, at school, at work or in the dentist’s waiting room. However, if we look deeper, we find viral videos are more than just a welcome distraction. They actually feed us on an innate (often subconscious) level. In case you missed it, I’m saying that most viral videos impact the emotions.

Our emotions are powerful, complex things that influence our decisions. Think about it. If these viral videos weren’t triggering our emotions, we wouldn’t care about them. We wouldn’t remember them and we certainly wouldn’t want to share them. Who wants to waste their time sharing a boring video?

So, it’s all in the emotions. These viral videos play, to varying degrees, with our emotions.

Let’s take the infamous Charlie viral video (below). We’ll use this example as it currently has almost 835 million views. I know you’ve probably seen this viral video before; but, let’s analyse it a little.

Why did this particular video rise to viral video status? For starters, it makes most people laugh (or at least smile), and we all enjoy a good laugh. Secondly, it appeals to the emotions of a select group – parents. If you’re a parent, it’s likely you find this video highly relatable as it evokes emotions and situations that you’re familiar with. The fact that it’s length is less than 1 minute is also in it’s favour.

Admittedly, the exact science of making viral videos is still to be determined. No specific formula exists (yet) and no one can produce a guaranteed viral video (although, many people will make you this promise – be wary of thesm). Despite the unknowns, it’s inevitable that emotion plays a significant role in producing a viral video.

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