Tech - Internet
By: - at June 20, 2013

15 Real Life Videos that Went Viral

Viral VideoIn the age of the Internet, the viral video phenomenon is one that most people are more than a little familiar with. The popularity and emergence of viral videos continues to gain momentum as recording software on smart phones and other pocket-sized devices gets more and more complex, allowing people to capture moments that otherwise they would have to share via word of mouth sometimes you just have to see it for yourself to understand, and current technology allows that with increasing frequency.

But what constitutes a "viral" video? More recently the term has been tossed around in describing any video a person or specific group particularly likes, but the real definition is a video that is proliferated online through various sharing methods, including social media, email, and sharing websites designed for that specific purpose. In general, a video is considered "viral" when it crests over 10,000 views in under 24 hours, but some definitions refer to more than ten times that number.

The most interesting viral videos by far, however, are the ones that weren't produced to be viral. The ones that weren't designed with the idea of picking up more popularity than seems possible in a ludicrously short amount of time. We've all seen PSY's "Gangnam Style" and most of us have heard Rebecca Black's "Friday" (whether we wanted to or not) but the best viral videos are the ones that come from the last place you would expect: Real life. From news reports to home video, there's nothing quite like seeing normal situations turn into something the whole Internet will stop and watch.

15)  Student Schools Teacher
When a high school student in Duncaville, Texas snapped on his teacher, he didn't know the camera was rolling but that didn't stop him from standing up for the education and enrichment of his fellow students. The young man, identified as eighteen-year-old Jeff Bliss, delivers words of wisdom to his teacher detailing why her apparent hands-off method of teaching isn't working, likely leading to the emergence of "difficult" students such as himself. "Can't expect a kid to change if all you do is just tell 'em," he says on his way out the door for being a disruption. The teacher continues to nod and give short, noncommittal responses, including a repeated "bye" when he refuses to leave without saying his peace, further driving Bliss' point home.

The video was first posted on YouTube in April of 2013, and really took off when it was picked up by Upworthy, a site dedicated to sharing infographics, articles and videos the users believe will change or strengthen a person's worldview. Numerous reposts of the video make getting an exact view count difficult, and the original video was taken down some point after the local news picked up the story. The top-rated upload of the video had over one million views in May of 2013.  Here is the video:

14)  Catch the Ice Dude
This video, clocking in at a whopping 25 million views in the early months of 2013, is 79 seconds of schadenfreude, particularly appropriate since it's apparently German. It likely reached viral status strictly because watching other people hurt themselves is to a point hilarious. In this one, a German man has apparently agreed to jump into a frozen pool while a friend looks on through his camera. After preparing a towel and stating that he'll be pulling himself out of the water immediately, the man makes a bold declaration, in English no less, of "Mother f---er, f--- the f---ing world, and my new band is called Syskyo!"

While there's no explanation of what his new band has to do with the stunt, the man makes the jump, pulling into a cannon ball in preparation for the freezing plunge ... and then bounces right off the ice, slides to the far end of the pool, and ends up laying on his front on the solid frozen sheet. After taking a minute to recover with a fair amount of whimpering and lamenting that the ice didn't break he looks up at the camera and says "Perfect, wasn't it?" Perfect enough to get the Internet's attention for a little while, at least.  Here is the video:

13)  Hitchhiker Gives Psycho the Ax
An ordinary news report with a not-so-ordinary story, KMPH Fox 26 out of Fresno broadcast this report in early 2013, detailing how a hitchhiker with an axe turned the tables on the urban legends and managed to save the day. Kai, who identifies as being "homefree" rather than homeless, explains that he was picked up by a man who eventually claimed to be Jesus Christ and crashed into a PG&E worker on the road, pinning him to his truck. Two women working at a roadside stand assumed it was an accident and rushed to help, only for the elder of the two to be attacked by the driver.

In Kai's telling of the story, he ran back to the car to grab his hatchet from his bag and, in his words, "Smash, smash, smash!" This video gained particular momentum when it was posted on Tumblr, where the original post has 60,000 notes and counting. While the original video upload on YouTube never crested one million hits, in a matter of days there were reposts, extended reports, and charity funds set up for Kai. An "auto tuned" song made from the interview's audio track, making this one viral in ways that numbers can't measure.  Here is the full video:

12)  Is This the Real Life
Robert Wilkinson was arrested for public intoxication at some point in late 2011. In March of 2012, his arrest video hit the Internet, and exploded with popularity. While people are arrested for this exact offense on a daily, or at least nightly basis, Wilkinson's arrest is particularly noteworthy due to his response to not being released after disputing the claims of public drunkenness. Roughly thirty seconds into the video, when it's obvious that the arresting officer isn't going to let him go, Wilkinson does the only thing a perfectly sober no, really! He says he's sober! Really! man can do: He bursts into song. Specifically one of Queen's mega hits, "Bohemian Rhapsody." Wilkinson misses only a handful of words through the course of the video, starting at "Is this the real life ..." and revealing his location when he ends with "Nothing really matters, anyone can see, no nothing really matters ... even the RCMP," in what appears to be a musical jab at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. While it's presumable that he was sober enough to realize that he wasn't taken to the station on a horse, he was drunk enough to net close to 10 million views since the video went online.  Here is the video:

11)  Heckler's Coat, Hecklers' Coke
Comedian Adam Newman has been in the industry long enough to be used to the occasional heckler. In this case, a couple watching stand-up comedy at the Laughing Skull Lounge refused to be amused, and disappeared to the bathroom just prior to Newman's set. Upon noticing that the couple left their jackets at their seats, and feeling vengeful in the way that only a comedian can, Newman asked the remaining audience, "You guys wanna go through their s---?" While the suggestion elicited a round of laughter, the return of the woman led to Newman putting the man's jacket on, and bringing something a little distressing to light. Namely, the baggie of cocaine in the jacket's right pocket.

The video, posted in late November 2012, had reached more than 3 million hits by May of 2013, primarily due to unlikelihood of the event it was the man's own wife that handed the jacket over. This left many to speculate that the so-called hecklers had it planned somehow. Regardless, setup or not, the video definitely got its fifteen seconds of Internet glory.

10)  Barking Cat
On the topic of viral videos, like Internet culture as a whole, cats are a staple. This cat, however, seems to be having a bit of an identity crisis or maybe leading a double life. The video starts with someone filming through a camcorder or smart phone as they come into the room, looking at a large black house cat standing in the window, leaning out and over the sill. Barking can be heard, presumably from below, where there are likely dogs the cat is taunting. However, when the owner gets close enough for the cat to notice their presence, it's shown that the cat is in fact the one barking! Even more hilarious, upon realizing that it's been found out, the cat instead begins meowing, seemingly trying to cover up the slip in character.

Although not alone in the ranks of barking cats (a YouTube search brings up several similar videos, and the comments section of this particular video features several cat owners with stories along the same lines), this one has almost 16 million views, making it one of the most viral house cat videos out there.  Here is the video:

9)  Double Talk
People say that twins have special ways of communicating with each other, everything from their own special code to psychic links. In the case of this video, the subjects are a little too young to be fluent in either communication form, but that doesn't stop them from holding what seems to be a full-fledged conversation in nothing but baby gibberish and giggles. The topic looks like it ranges from one sibling's missing sock to something sitting on the floor off-screen, but regardless of subject the babies gesture fervently, laugh at one another's jokes assuming that's what they are and look for all the world like a couple people gathered around the water cooler. You know, with diapers and three socks between the two of them instead of three-piece suits for each. With over 85 million views on one of the two videos by 2013, these boys wound up famous before they could even introduce themselves; at least before they could do it in a language anyone only their twin could understand.

8)  David After Dentist
One of the best known viral videos to date, this one features a young boy named David DeVore Jr., aged eight at the time of filming, recovering from anesthesia following oral surgery. Since his mother couldn't be there for his surgery, his father agreed to do some filming before and after, so she could see how he acted and reacted. The result was one of the most laugh-worthy videos on the Internet, showcasing David's erratic behavior as he comes back in touch with reality through the lens of his anesthetic. He claims "I feel funny" several times, is very interested in the fact that he has two fingers, sit up in his seat and screams, tells his father he has four eyes, and then finally asks, with no little concern, "Is this going to be forever?"

119 million hits later and David is still an Internet phenomenon, although no subsequent video has reached quite the same level of online fame as his first. Still, there will have to be some perks to being the only person in the world who can put "I am David After Dentist" on his resume when he gets old enough for his first job.

7)  Frog On A Cold Wood Bench
This video clocks in with close to 11 million views for under a minute of footage, featuring nothing more than a large bull frog on a bench. The hook that made these 40-odd seconds go viral? The frog is sitting upright, long legs hanging over the side, forelegs in its "lap," and appears perfectly comfortable. Everybody loves seeing animals doing human things, so this video was an instant hit. Although the person behind the camera continues to reassure people that he found the frog in that position and did nothing to hurt it or hold it there and there are numerous reports of such things happening with other frogs, due to the structure of a bull frog's spine the video's comment section still comes under considerable flak for being a possible fake. Regardless of whether the frog is posed or not, he certainly looks comfortable, if a bit bored. Maybe the bus he appears to be waiting for is running late.

6)  Double Rainbow
When this YouTube video hit the trails around Yosemite, in spite of his years working the park and living alongside it, he clearly wasn't prepared for the glory of mother nature. Following what was likely a decent amount of rainfall, Paul Vasquez discovered the rare phenomenon of the "double rainbow," which occurs when light is refracted in such a way as to show two arches in place of the more common single arch recognized as a rainbow. Vasquez's reaction is over the top to say the least, and he's best quoted as asking "What does it mean?" throughout the course of the video.

This one sits at over 37 million views, primarily thanks to talk show host Jimmy Kimmel posting a link to the video on his Twitter feed. After this point the video took off like wildfire. It went on to be retweeted by other famous voices, received an article on the Huffington Post, hit just about everyone's Facebook feed, and Vasquez himself eventually received an interview from CBS News. During the interview he explains that he sees double rainbows fairly often from his plot of land near Yosemite, but at that point he felt particularly touched by the spectacle. He just had to share his excitement with the world. Considering the regular traffic the video still receives, and continued references throughout online culture, the Internet is happy that he did.

5)  Cat Gone
Originally posted under the title translated to "Cat Gone" in English, this video is short, sweet, and tickles the funny bone like only a cat on the Internet can. Feeling threatened by some action of its owners off-camera, a large orange tabby cat lurches to its feet, puffs up like a Halloween decoration, but stiffens its back and front legs so completely that when it walks off the screen. It does so on its hind legs only, reminiscent of something from Victor Hugo's "Hunchback of Notre Dame." The number of cats in viral videos is astronomical, but with 17 million views, this one definitely belongs in the ranks with Maru and Nyan Cat.

4)  Sweet Brown
Kimberly Wilkins is an Oklahoma City resident better known by the pseudonym "Sweet Brown," which was used when she offered an interview following a fire in her apartment complex in April of 2012. Her quirky behavior and matter of fact explanation of the event made her an Internet sensation in a matter of days. The interview, under a minute in length, gained over a million views in two days, and to date stands closer to 13 million. Wilkins' interview was reposted on Tosh.0, Hypervocal, Buzzfeed, Hip Hop Wired and a number of other news outlets, leading to a follow up interview with Wilkins and her son from MSNBC. The same candid attitude about the situation that led Wilkins to becoming an Internet phenomenon also left her stunned by the amount of attention she got for the short clip, originally recorded for her local news station. But the reactions have been positive enough that Wilkins' catch phrase ain't nobody got time for that! doesn't apply to this shocking turn of events.  The remix video made from it actually became even more popular (with over 42 million views):

3)  Fluffy Kitten is Confused
This video is under 30 seconds long, has more than 26 million hits to date, and serves as proof that cuteness really can conquer all. The entire video consists of what appears to be a mixed-breed munchkin kitten being absolutely bewildered by a sparkly plastic teaser toy flailed around in the kitten's vicinity. Being so young, the cat doesn't seem to know how to react to this new game, and responds by looking around with wide, confused eyes in an attempt to understand; rather than playing and attacking the toy like an older cat would. While there were no news reports on this one, and the cat's behavior probably isn't the source of the video's popularity, the look of it definitely could be. With long extremely fluffy hair, short stocky legs, enormous black eyes and a huge puffy tail, this is the impossibly cute kitten every kid wants growing up. At least one person was lucky enough to find.

2)  Asians in the Library
Unfortunately, not all viral videos show the better side of humanity. In 2011, following the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Sendai, Japan, UCLA student Alexandra Wallace thought it would be a good idea to take to the Internet to vent her frustration about Asian students using cell phones in the UCLA library. She starts out with "We know I'm not the most politically correct person, so don't take this offensively. I don't mean this towards any of my friends," and then launches into one of the most ignorantly racist monologues on YouTube. Complaining about "hordes of Asian people" accepted into the university, ordering these students to use "American manners," and impersonating East Asian languages with the gibberish "ching chong ling long ting tong," Wallace manages to stereotype two thirds of the world's population in under three minutes.

Within a week the video was picked up by the Huffington Post, the Daily Mail, LA Now, and even the New York Times. Jimmy Wong created a parody song based on the video, offering a comical translation of the gibberish Wallace provided as her estimation of East Asian language, which reached over a million views and generated $6,500 via the iTunes store. He then donated it to charity with thanks to Alexandra Wallace. UCLA's administration apologized for Wallace's speech, and Wallace herself made two formal apologies before leaving UCLA at the end of that year, citing harassment of herself and her family as reason for the withdrawal. The original video was taken down before long, but several duplicate uploads remain online, with combined hit counts totaling in the millions.  Here is one of the duplicate uploads:

Here is a funny Asian response video:

1)  Father Goes Into Baby Crib
Videographer Nunzio Raso had a camera set up in his young daughter's room to help him keep an eye on her even when he wasn't in the room. It resulted in snagging some of the best footage of his career. For several months his daughter, Michela, would wake up every 1 - 2 hours to cry until someone came to take her out of her crib. When Raso refused to take her out, knowing that his daughter needed to sleep, but likewise couldn't bring himself to leave her crying. The result was a four minute slice of life that currently sits at more than 7 million hits. About thirty seconds in, seeing no alternative, Raso climbs into his daughter's crib, intending to help her get to sleep and then climb back out what he wasn't counting on was Michela's refusal to let him go. Even going so far as to drape her body over his chest to keep him from trying to leave. Raso mentions on his front page that his back is doing fine, but that he spent several hours in that crib, keeping his daughter happy and sleeping. There's nothing quite like parenthood to bring out the most ridiculously sweet actions in people.

Final Words
Viral videos are a piece of online culture that is only getting stronger and more well-known, with social networks and media sharing sites on the rise the likelihood of someone's simple home video making them Internet famous grows every day. It's true that most so-called "real life" viral videos have a hard time measuring up to commercially produced viral giants PSY's "Gangnam Style" was the first online video to get more than a billion hits, come in at 1.6 billion in May of 2013, and the Invisible Children's "Kony 2012" became the most viral video in history when it reached more than 30 million views within 24 hours of uploading. The fact of the matter is that they don't have to. At the end of the day, as much as we love music we might not be able to understand and as moved as we might be by a cause outside our own borders. Everyone is drawn to things like off-the-cuff news reports, babies being babies and animals being ridiculous.

The list of videos that could be classified as viral is too long to possibly write out, with more videos cresting that coveted million hit mark every day. With so many easy ways to share videos with friends via social media, it seems that everyone is looking for that next hilarious video to post and share. Things can quickly escalate, and thousands if not millions of people can see your antics, whether or not you really want them to. Who knows, maybe that video blog you've always wanted to start could turn into the next big thing, at least for a couple days. In Internet time, a couple days is pretty close to forever, isn't it?





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