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Cultural TrendsEvents

One of the first viral events of 2014 emerged this week after the final whistle of the NFC Championship game in Seattle. In case you missed it, here’s what pretty much everyone, football fan or otherwise, can’t seem to stop talking about:

Now, this particular video upload by user ROCKHEADSTUDIOS has almost 2 million views as of this writing, and nearly 3,000 comments. But, while those numbers alone may sound decent enough for a 30 second sound bite posted just three days ago, you can bet that the story on YouTube goes much deeper than just a single, high view count video. Whether it’s all the re-uploads, the remixes, the parodies, personal response videos, etc., the conversation just keeps building, and its impact goes farther and farther the closer you look.

So, we decided to run a search using ZEFR tech to get the full picture thus far:

Richard Sherman videos uploaded since Jan. 19: 2,348
Total Views: 13,681,072
Total Comments: 31,072

Thus, as indicated by that 13+ million views figure, it’s clear that the full depth of activity surrounding a viral event on YouTube isn’t always readily apparent from a basic search. If you’re only looking at the most watched videos, then you’re failing to capture the true level of engagement that is actually happening on the platform.

This engagement happens in various ways. As an example of the sorts of creativity waiting around every corner of YouTube, check out this masterful edit, which provides a perfect commentary on the importance of “context”:

Moreover, when looking at YouTube as a discovery engine for related content, the viral event itself can spill over onto other related videos and affect their performance in a huge way. Consider the timing of these two videos from Nike and Beats by Dre respectively, both featuring Richard Sherman to varying degrees and both uploaded on the same day of his now infamous interview:

The Beats by Dre video in particular is almost too perfect, and a quick look at the comments section says a lot about why the video has nearly 1.5 million views already:

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Certainly, many of the comments generated from this event have been less than exemplary of the kind of discourse you might wish to see in 2014, as plenty of commentators have discussed at length. Nevertheless, the YouTube comments will keep on coming, and the views generated from this viral event will continue to rise. And, ultimately, what matters is the ability to recognize the full scope of the conversation going on. Only then can you try to measure the impact and properly understand the implications.

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