Gangnam Style, Rebecca Black Friday, Kony 2012...what makes YouTube viral videos?

Published 21 November 2012  |  
Everyone loves a good laugh, or a great story, but it's getting harder and harder to figure out what is worth opening in your inbox and what should be flagged as spam. So to help you sort out the good from the bad, here's a list of 10 of the better viral videos that have been in heavy email circulation over the last few years:

Webcam 101 for Seniors

Bruce and Esther Huffman bought a new webcam for their computer and had no idea they were recording their first experiences trying to figure out how the darn thing worked!

Rebecca Black Friday

Known as one of the worst songs ever written, Rebecca Black, a would be teenage pop star sponsored by her parents copped a lot of negative attention for this video. She later turned around the bad press into a lucrative business via YouTube ads and other endorsements. Friday remains a disturbingly catchy, and undeniably bad musically experience

Chocolate Rain

Another would be rock star releasing his song online, only this time, its hard to tell if it was ever meant to be taken seriously. At over 85 million viewings Tay Zonday's chocolate rain is bound to bring a smile, if not for his cryptic choice in lyrics, then definitely for his unusual singing voice!

(P.S. If anyone is struggling to get a grip on global economics, or questions the possibility of musical financial edutainment, he also has an undeniably informative song on the topic here)

Serious Baby

Yanked from a funniest home video show, serious baby shows that one is never too young to develop a sense of humour. The clip show a baby learning that he can make his parents laugh by giving them the 'evil eye'.

German Coastguard

Yanked from the TV, this ad for an English school is an absolute classic.

Food in a Nek Minnit

What happens when a skateboarder gets bored. He makes a series of videos. Levi Hawkin wasn't counting on becoming an NZ Internet sensation when he published these.

Battle at Kruger

With over 69 million views since release on YouTube, Battle at Kruger remains one of the all time most popular clips on the site. A man in Kruger national park South Africa captures unbelievable footage of a young water buffalos struggle for life as it contends with a pride of lions, and an alligator before his herd comes to his rescue.

A homeless man with a golden voice

Ted Williams, the man with a golden voice, is a former radio announcer who had fallen on hard times. In this clip, Ted is discovered by a journalist and given an opportunity to utilise his dulcet tones as a talk show voice over, giving him an opportunity to get off the streets and hope for the future.

Gangnam Style

If you haven't heard this song yet you've been living in a hole. Korean singer PSI launched from inter national obscurity to celebrity with the release of his song Gangnam style.

Kony 2012

Invisible Children an organization seeking to raise awareness of the conflict in Uganda, specifically concerning Joseph Kony's LRA, and the enslavement of child soldiers, released this clip on YouTube and became the most viral video in history.

Theological Question

What is it that fascinates one and all about such video clips that draws our attention and God given humour and interest to such things? Certainly it's their weirdness, being so true to life or illustrative of our human frailties and perhaps because our lives need constant entertainment.

Herein lies a greater truth. This is what theologians refer to as the God vacuum, that there is vast entity within our human experience that demands 'something other' and which Jesus spoke of as "living water" – you'll never need thirst again. Again what Jesus spoke of being "born again" – there is an emptiness that only the Lord can fill.

Yes, we are entertained by such things, but there is a greater question involved and this focuses in on the real me! This is what God speaks to. This is that one to one communication with the Holy Spirit.

Ben Kitzelman has spent the last 4 years travelling between Australia and Zambia, serving for one as a missionary, and is now an IT professional in Melbourne.

Ben Kitzelman's previous articles may be viewed at


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