Tag Archives: Viral video

School’s out Friday

Are you one of the 46,089,523 (as at 9.45pm Melbourne time March 14th) who has seen ‘First Kiss‘? I saw it for the first time today when my students said I should watch it after we’d watched ‘Good looking couple sing Frozen’ as a bit of fun and exploration of a viral video at the end of class.

Did I take it at face value and think it was an interesting concept that held mass appeal?

Yes, I did.

Was I surprised when I discovered tonight it was clothing advert starring actors for the brand Wren Studio?

No, not really.

I’m getting used to clever videos that appear to be genuine turning out to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. They aren’t insidious, but they do leave you feeling a bit cheated especially when you’ve made an emotional investment while viewing them and have perhaps then gone on to share them with others in good faith. The lesson in all this is to not take things at face value and to investigate further.

I’ve spent a little (not a lot!) of time tonight looking into ‘Good looking parents sing Disney’s Frozen‘, and I can’t detect anything insidious behind this one, other than wondering who on earth would include ‘Good looking parents’ in the title of their uploaded video. It seems that Samuel and Nia Rader of Terell, Texas are just the kind of people who do that. Here’s a bit more about them from the description accompanying the video on the Youtube page.

Just a little about us. We’re high school sweet hearts, been together for the past 10 years, married for the past 4.5 years. We have TWO children, our five month old baby man is sitting behind me. My wife is a stay at home mom/wife, and an amazing one at that.She creates decorative wreaths in what little free time she has. I’m a full time ER nurse and do wedding photography on the side…

Lovely. But would I be at all surprised if in two days time something surfaced that demonstrated an underlying intent behind the posting of this video? No, I wouldn’t. I’ve come to expect it, especially considering that YouTube is to teenagers today what television was to me as a child.

Anyway, enough of the speculation. Enjoy it as you contemplate the weekend ahead. I’m thinking about buying a Go Pro and taping it my windscreen so I can record myself singing Pharrel Willliam’s ‘Happy’. I’ll upload it to YouTube and call it ‘Middle Aged Woman kidding herself’. :)

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School’s out Friday

Now here’s something to put in the lesson toolbox for 2014. Chicago’s Magical Piano, currently sitting at 3,352,971 views on YouTube and looking for all intents and purposes like a wonderfully Christmassy feel good viral video from Amtrak.

But, it’s hard to get anything past the Reddit community these days. Here’s what transpired (from Mashable);

About two hours after it was shared on Reddit, a user named schwagro claimed in the comments that the video was fake. Schwagro posted a link to a notice about an Amtrak casting call for a video in Chicago’s Union Station with a “magical piano around Christmastime that seems to be truly alive.”

One of the examples given in the notice is that an actor might “play ‘Chopsticks’ … and we turn it into a duet,” which is exactly what happens to a young girl at the beginning of the video.

Kevin Nalts, at willvideoforfood.com has provided a scene by scene breakdown outlining the indicators to tip us off. Here’s what he had to share (I’d encourage you to visit the link to the site too);

  1. Girl playing chopsticks has almost no reaction at :28 seconds when the magical duet that occurs. Her “mother” at :37 seconds realizes her reaction is just as disingenuous so she covers her face.

  2. At 1:00 a business man gets frustrated in convenience proximity of the piano. As the music becomes tense, his hand stays up in a token gesture of frustration. People don’t hold their hand up like that when they’re frustrated, and if they do it’s for a brief moment. He somewhat convincingly barks at the piano at 1:07, but that’s a much more severe reaction that would have occurred naturally. In real life, the guy would have almost subconsciously walked away from the noise to keep focused on his call.

  3. At 1:25 a fat man approaches and almost convinces us he’s amused. But when he kicks into a manic blues dance at 1:44 we’re painfully aware that the moment is staged.

  4. By the time two other musicians stumble upon the piano (a trumpet player and a harmonica player) I could no longer continue watching.

  5. I scanned toward the end, and shouldn’t have been surprised to see Santa shooshing the piano at 3:33. I think that was actually the real Santa, though… not an actor.

I had my students investigate the nature of viral videos in my class last year and I intend to do a similar thing this year. I’ll definitely be including this as a discussion point, perhaps with the title, ‘When is a viral video not a true viral video?’ As our eyes tune in more and more to spaces like YouTube and less and less to mainstream media, we’re going to see more companies try and get their message out with entertaining videos that tug at our heartstrings and make us aware of their company or product. Westjet did it well with their Christmas Miracle video, but they were upfront about what they were doing. Therein lies the difference. Be upfront at the start, and you won’t incur the wrath of the Reddit community and the less than complimentary debate that follows.

Have a great weekend. Lovely weather here in Melbourne at the moment, and next week promises to deliver the opposite of the Polar Vortex experienced by North America this last week. I will be returning to work and leaving the holiday behind. Can’t say I’m excited about that just right now, but them’s the breaks!

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School’s out Friday

The Melbourne Metro system posted this video on YouTube on November the 14th, and it’s since had 19,182,295 views. It’s called ‘Dumb ways to die’, and it was made in response to peoples’ careless behaviour around trains leading to unnecessary and preventable deaths. It’s attracting a lot of press due to the viral nature of the video, one that has finally knocked Gangman Style of the top of the viral video chart! Cassie McCullogh has written a post on ABC site ‘The Drum’, that outlines some criticism that has been levelled at it, suggesting its message will be ineffective.

Personally, I think any video that goes viral like this can’t be considered anything but effective. I don’t know if you realise this, but 19,182,295 views is a number within coo-ee of the entire population of Australia. The fact that the message at the end of the video outlines what its intentions are is a moment that makes you sit up and take notice. It’s kind of a ‘what the’ moment, but it certainly got me thinking.

I take my hat off to Metro. It’s quirky, creative and obviously has the mass appeal factor. The Drum article has some insight to its creation from Creative Director John Mescall,

It’s designed to engage with a younger audience that doesn’t “want to hear any kind of safety message”, McCann Melbourne Creative Director, John Mescall told ABC NEWS 24. “If it looks, smells or feels like an ad, it won’t get shared … it has to be incredibly likeable.”

This is one to store away for a class activity. My students have exams next week, but if regular classes were on, I’d be starting my lesson with this and encouraging discussion as to the ad’s effectiveness and the reasoning behind its creation in this form.

Sunny weather for the weekend here in Melbourne. I’ll be enjoying the rays, and making sure I don’t engage in any of those dumb ways to die. Enjoy your time this weekend – I hope you get an opportunity to see some rays too. :)

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School’s out Friday

This the the 2012 version of ‘Where the hell is Matt?‘. This time, he has varied the dance moves and tried to be in keeping with more traditional dances from the countries he visits. David Pogue interviewed Matt this week; if you’re interested in the background details about the creation of the video, take a read. Matt’s also released the outtakes video, and I think I prefer it- there’s something really touching about people from all differing nationalities joined together in the spirit of doing something fun.

It feels a bit to me like ‘Where the hell is Jenny’ at the moment. I’ve been on the move for the last few weeks with conferences and a family holiday. I’m very happy to report that tonight I landed back in my home town of Melbourne and am very happy to be writing this post from the warmth of my bed! Travelling is exciting, but the old adage, ‘There’s no place like home’, starts to ring true when you’ve been away for awhile.

There’s no rest for the wicked though (cliches flying thick and fast tonight!). Next Thursday night is TEDxMelbourne: Education Leadership, and I’m one of three speakers presenting there. For the next six days, that’s my focus. I’ll be fine tuning my talk and hoping I can deliver it with passion. I’m very honoured to have been asked to speak and want to do the event justice. I’ll certainly be sharing my thoughts on the process here, so keep an eye out for a post or two over the next week.

Enjoy the weekend everyone. Let’s hope the sun shines for us. :)

 

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