The great thing about the Internet is that it gives an almost equal opportunity for everyone to be heard. It’s about as democratic of a world you can imagine where people vote with their clicks on everything. One of my favorite things to experience is the incredible photography on Flickr. Some of the most incredible shots are taken by people who aren’t professional photographers. I’ll pull up Cooliris and glide through photos for hours, just as I used to do when I would hang out at the Art Institute. But now I can do it from my couch and iPhone.
Make no mistake, after all the talk and hand-wringing about the demise of our culture and The Cult of the Amateur, apparently people still prefer professionally-created content over homemade stuff. Visible Measures, a company which tracks video metrics, released a report on online videos which have received 100 million views or more. There are 18 videos — and 17 of them are either professionally produced, professionally produced and uploaded by a regular user or are a user’s comments about a professionally produced TV show. So what was the one user-generated video that got over 100 million views? It was a :56 second video about two kids called Charlie Bit My Finger…Again.
Videos showing over 100 million views as of May 1, 2009
- Soulja Boy: Crank That | 356,300,000 views
- Twilight | 266,500,000 views
- Mariah Carey: Touch My Body | 230,200,000 views
- Jeff Dunham: Achmed the Dead Terrorist | 196,500,000 views
- Susan Boyle (Britain’s Got Talent) | 186,000,000 views
- Leona Lewis: Bleeding Love | 185,600,000 views
- Avril Lavigne: Girlfriend | 176,000,000 views
- Chris Brown: With You (Disabled Linking) | 175,000,000 views
- The Dark Knight | 172,500,000 views
- Alicia Keys: No One | 160,300,000 views
- Evolution of Dance | 147,000,000 views
- Miley Cyrus: 7 Things | 143,000,000 views
- Charlie Bit My Finger… Again | 136,000,000 views < User Generated Video
- Rihanna: Please Don’t Stop the Music | 122,000,000 views
- Paul Potts (Britain’s Got Talent) | 118,800,000 views
- Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince | 104,800,000 views
- Lezberado: Revenge Fantasies | 103,000,000 views
- Hannah Montana: The Movie | 100,100,000 views
According to the statistics, homemade content, while it can be amazing, just doesn’t have the same power that professionally-produced content does. And keep in mind that in order for a video to go massively viral it needs serious marketing help from the offline world. All of these videos, except for Charlie and his brother, are either attached to a television show, music video or a major motion picture in some way. Of course, the real question here is who is Soulja Boy and what in the heck is that dance?
I love that Mariah Carey video, though I have wondered what sort of behind-the-scenes transaction went on to get her to mention “Youtube” in the lyrics, and how that plays into it being one of the top videos ever played on Youtube.
Oh & I’ve probably watched the Charlie bit my finger video 20 times!
This is really interesting considering that the professionally produced content is the only stuff I will really go to YouTube for. Most of the other stuff on there (like the Charlie Bit My Finger Video) is just fluff. I guess maybe I don’t have the right sense of humor for something like that because obviously YouTube is huge and people are going there and looking at stuff like that, I just don’t find it that interesting.