Why Videos Go Viral

I bet you’ve seen it. Don’t lie. “Cha-lie bit me! Ouch Cha-lie Oww!” As of 11/9/2014, it has been viewed 795, 377, 122. Yes, nearly 8 MILLION views of one child biting another’s finger. I have 5 children over here, so you can imagine the footage we could capture. And the thought that a kid’s bitten finger could evoke such a response is actually quite astounding.

From a girl fight to a baby announcement. From a celebrity riding naked on a wrecking ball to men eating like animals. From “What Does The Fox Say?” to the most current viral video, an 80’s sitcom show parody called Too Many Cooks that is actually an 11-minute show intro. And another recent one, a baby announcement that has nearly 1 million views in less than a month.

So what makes people enthralled in the macabre, bizarre and down right foolish? Why do videos go viral? Well there are at least 3 keys to any viral video.

Power Play
What propels a video? Someone with clout says it’s of value, such as a popular musician or actor. When someone with ‘credibility’ says it’s good, and then the masses follow and believe, yes this is good. Thus spawns the almost instant success of the video.

Well if you listen to The ONE with real clout, what He says about you should spawn something worth sharing. He says you are fearfully and wonderfully made. He says you are His friend. He says you are the apple of His eye. He says He loves you with an everlasting love. And friends to me that is news worth sharing. That is news worth Tweeting, Facebooking, and Instagraming.

When videos go viral they are often copied and parodied. Everyone wants to get in on the action; giving their unique spin, style and flair to the video that has already gone viral; which can then spark another viral movement. Everyone longs to be a part of something big…something special.

Imagine the impact Believers could have if they truly imitated Christ and that crazy, radical love was duplicated and shared nearly 8 Million times like Charlie Bit Me? Imagine if Believers would carry out the great commandment to love one another and coupled that with the great commission to go and make disciples. Carrying out the commission while demonstrating the commandment, the movement could change the planet.

My church, The First Baptist Church of Glenarden, did this recently in conjunction with our Women’s Conference. The theme of the conference was He Loves Me. It was an effort to carry out the commission by demonstrating the commandment. We went on a love tour going into local middle and high schools, holding flash mobs around the city and performing random acts of love. Indeed the love was infectious. Just like a virus invades, the love of Christ that is in you could invade the community and go viral. What if we did the insane, ridiculous and crazy in the name of love? What would that crazy love look like? How quickly would it spread? In just a short period of time, one video, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge raised over $100 Million. I would venture to say LOVE has no cap; no end and can overflow until…

Strong Emotion
In order for a video to go viral it must also evoke intense emotion; whether joy or pain as evidenced in the announcement of the birth or the brutality of a fight.
We all want to believe in fairy tale romantic love. We are all acquainted with joy, fear and anguish. Social scientists say watching such videos has us in a heightened emotional state and in that state we are more susceptible to share what we’ve watched.

When you watch the events of your own life, do they cause intense emotion? Right in the midst of that raw emotion, the Lord has been ever present, watching the events of your life go viral. He wants that emotion to compel you to share the wondrous works He’s performed on your behalf. He wants you to Tweet and Instagram how He loved you, kept you, protected you and provided for you.

World pop star Justin Beiber was discovered on YouTube. A few years ago, he became the first person to reach 2 Billion views. In fact, he even had 94 Million views in one month alone! Oh dear friends, to what extent can we go viral with the power of the Lord of the universe working inside of each of us?

What can you do today to make your faith go viral? We’ve been commanded to love. We’ve been commissioned to make disciples. Obey Him and go viral today.

So please excuse me while I GO VIRAL starting by looking each of my children directly in the eye, telling them I love them and I’m proud of the young people God is molding and shaping them into and wrapping that all up in a big embrace.

Until next time, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired to Live Fully.


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