Viral Videos and Hyperreality: How Attention is Manufactured On a Massive Scale

Viral videos are a strange cultural phenomenon.

Theyโ€™re your classic fail compilations, your controversial quotes clipped out of interviews, your Cat Falls in Bath, Disembowels Owner (MUST WATCH!!)s. Orย โ€” more interestingly โ€” a document of some tiny, insignificant momentย that was never ready to be scrutinized by millions.

Videos go viral by chance: they happen to be picked up in the right place at the right time, someone will get it up on the front page of reddit for a few hours, and itโ€™ll blow up. Millions of views overnight, coverage from every major news outlet on the planet, and some druggedย seven-year old babbling nonsense in the back of his dad’s car is suddenly world famous.…   [continue reading]