Love in the Time of Algorithms
For people who spend a lot of time online, it feels like you can’t swing a dead lolcat without hitting a viral marriage proposal video these days. It’s not necessarily a new phenomenon, though. People have delighted in watching strangers’ marriage themed home movies since the earliest days of America’s Funniest Videos. But with the advent of YouTube, you can catch the latest gushy, overblown wedding stunt on demand, whenever you please.
The digital cupids at Match.com have taken notice, and they’re running a contest for couples who met on their website. This is prime wedding proposal season, you see, with 39 percent of questions being popped from Thanksgiving to Valentine’s Day, according to a release from Match.
Back in July, a woman became an unwitting viral video star when her hissy fit at the Genius Bar was captured on Vine. Well, she’s now got company in infamy, thanks to a woman who took news of a cell phone store’s refund policy very, very badly.
By now, you’ve probably heard about the viral sensation that’s, shall we say, galloping across the nation. It’s called Prancercise, and it’s a questionably-effective exercise regime developed by a Florida woman who’s wild about horses. Strap on some ankle weights, turn on some groovy music, and prance around like a horse. That’s literally how it Read More
There are few things sadder than watching an Internet star try to recapture their fleeting fame by starring in a forced “viral” video. Jonah Falcon, the dude with the world’s biggest schlong (13.5 inches erect!), is the newest online “celeb” to fall for this gimmick. The financially struggling Mr. Falcon has released a video called “It’s Too Big,” a three-minute opus that’s not about his massive debt, but rather his massive dick.
Here’s a high school policy we can get behind: a group of students in San Diego were suspended and banned from their prom and commencement for making a twerking video. The nearly three dozen kids, who filmed a version of the raunchy viral video on school property, made it during their journalism class and posted it on YouTube.
Though driverless cars are on the road (heh) to becoming legal in many states, it will definitely take some time for the American populace to adjust to the sight of a car functioning without someone in the driver’s seat.
YouTube user MagicofRahat took advantage of that dissonance by creating a costume that looked just like his car’s seat back and placed it over his body, giving the impression that his car was driving itself. Then he drove the car through a number of fast food drive-thrus and scared the crap out of the unsuspecting employees.
After six months, news aggregator Upworthy has proven that viral videos work as a conduit for politically-relevant information just as well as, say, cats or Carly Rae Jepsen. The Chris Hughes-backed site, which describes itself as “social media with a mission,” picked up an impressive six million uniques in September according to Google Analytics, up from just over 4 million in August.
To help catapult that growth, the company has raised $4 million from the venture capital firm NEA, as well as a host of familiar angel investors, including Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian and BuzzFeed cofounder John Johnson. Mr. Hughes, who is also fighting the good fight as owner of the The New Republic, reupped, participating in this round as well, the company confirmed.
Internet vigilantes, you’ve done it again! After a video of person after person tripping at the 36th St. subway station in Sunset Park, Brooklyn went viral yesterday, Betabeat–and tons of other reporters, apparently–called the MTA to ask if they had any intention of fixing the offending step. The MTA told us, “We will send someone out to take a look and take corrective measures,” and apparently they’re making good on their word.
According to NBC News, “Crews went to the station Wednesday to block off the staircase in preparation for repairs.”
We did it, Internet! Give yourselves a pat on the back–if you can bear to take your hands off the keyboard, that is.
The only downside is that NBC News reports that the MTA is unsure how long the fix will take, which means it probably won’t be done for years. Sorry, Sunset Park.
The Bad Kind of Viral
Remember the 2004 clip of that pompous DEA agent who shot himself in the thigh in front of a community center classroom? It was like an awful deleted scene from Breaking Bad meets a bloopers reel, or so the millions who watched it seemed to think. The DEA agent wasn’t so happy, especially with the gossipy agency he worked for, who passed the video around enough to go viral. He’s since sued the DEA for violating his privacy, by letting the video get out into the open. The result?
“We’ve had hits before, but this is a grandslam,” says James Percelay of his firm’s latest video exploit, a short film purporting to show a man hacking the video screens in Times Square. “We hit a million views in 72 hours and became the number one most tweeted video, currently the number one viral video in 50 countries around the world.”