Watch: PBS Off Book Explores The Many Worlds Of Viral Video

By Megan O'Neill 

“Viral video” has taken over the web.  With over 3 billion hours of video being watched every month on YouTube, everybody is talking about the latest YouTube sensation or viral hit.  PBS takes a look into the world of viral video in the latest episode of their web-original series Off Book.

In the Off Book episode, ‘The Worlds Of Viral Video,’ PBS talks with some of the web’s most renowned viral video experts, including Kevin Allocca of YouTube Trends, Jonah Peretti of Buzzfeed, Brad Kim of Know Your Meme, and Michael Learmonth of Advertising Age to find out about what makes a viral video, how viral video has evolved over time, how brands are jumping on the viral video bandwagon, how viral video is shaping our culture and more.

Kevin Allocca says, “One of the interesting things about viral video is there is actually no generally agreed-upon definition.”  However, it is clear that viral video is changing the way we see and experience culture and the world.

Jonah Peretti explains, “We’re entering this new era in media where it’s not just about serving your own needs, it’s about finding things your friends and the people in your life, and people are becoming curators and publishers themselves.”

And that’s not all—the viral videos we watch and share are not only shaping the way we express ourselves and our identities, but they are also serving as a vehicle for igniting change.  In the past year we’ve seen viral videos inspire campaigns and ignite change in arenas from interracial issues to bullying to natural disasters and the Arab Spring.  And what’s really cool, as Allocca puts it, is that “when we think back and remember many of these moments, we will remember them through these YouTube videos, and that is a very different thing.”

Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times.  Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.