Yahoo and Time’s Top 10 Viral Videos – Now Can We Kill the Term Viral?

Shiba Inu
Image via Wikipedia

I am hard-pressed to think of a more overused, misrepresented and misunderstood concept than “viral vidoes.”

A quick look at either Yahoo’s or Time’s 2008 “Top 10” lists makes it pretty clear that there is no real definition of what makes a video viral other than it was seen on the internet, that it was relatively short and that it was seen by a lot of people.

In fact, Yahoo lists the now-famous Shiba Inu Puppy Cam as a “viral video” even though it was a live-streaming event, not a standalone video at all.

In addition, it doesn’t seem to matter who made the video or even whether it was made for the internet originally or not. That’s how clips of Sarah Palin being humiliated by Katie Couric somehow become on par with Joss Whedon’s elaborate internet series “Doctor Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog.”

We all know that this is the time of year for lists, and that we all love lists, but it would be nice to see everyone drop that “viral video” tag and just list your ten favorites.  That’s what it looks like you’re doing anyhow.  Now just admit it.

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