Daily Archives: September 12, 2008

The Power of Viral in Subcultures

How many of you received a link to the following video this week? I was sent this video by three different Christians in one day–yesterday (and I proceeded to forward it around to 3 other people):

The Renewed Mind Is The Key…to bad dancing

It’s an unthinkably kitschy video that has been rightly compared to something you might see on a Gaither family cruise ship. It is remarkably fun to watch it and make fun of it (especially the guy’s amazing dance solo near the end!), but the thing that fascinates me is the way that it has exploded as a viral phenomenon…

Today it is ranked #11 on the Viral Video Chart, which charts the day’s most buzzed-about, virally active web videos. It is surrounded by videos about Sarah Palin, Super Mario, Matt Damon, and cats.

How do obscure videos like this get plucked out of nowhere and turned into subcultural touchstones of viral success? Who starts the chain of linking? When and why does it reach a tipping point (as this video did yesterday, as seen in this crazy, exponential graph rise).

Has it been the Christian subculture that has fueled this video’s rise? I suspect so, considering that all the people who linked it to me are employees of churches or Christianity Today magazine. It’s so funny how quickly viral videos can spread when the network of a particular subculture can be mobilized. Think of the power if we suddenly got interested in videos of real value!