For my final paper, I will be analyzing a video recording the death of Neda Agha-Soltan in Tehran, Iran. Neda, a 29-year-old Iranian woman, was shot on the streets in Tehran during the 2009 Iranian election protests. Her death drew national attention as the video went viral over the Internet and via social media outlets. The shooting and her death was caught on a cell-phone video camera and then rebroadcast over the Internet. Neda's death became representative of the struggles of Iranian protesters against the disputed election of Iranian president Ahmadinejad and protesters in general in the Arab world.
The methodological approach I will take is two-fold. I will take is a media approach as well as a historical approach in analyzing the video. The video got millions of views on YouTube and was spread over Twitter and Facebook immediately after the event. Specifically, I would like to use the Audience Response Theory to analyze the demographic of the people who viewed the video, why they viewed it and whether or not they shared it and why. Did the fact that the video contained graphic content further inspire people to view it?
In terms of a political methodological view, I would like to look at the uprising and revolution that has been born out of this video and how it fits into the historical context of discomfort and unhappiness in the Arab world that is still present today.
Trayvon Martin was racially profiled when he was walking through a gated community in Sanford, Florida. A man, George Zimmerman, called the police because he though Martin’s behavior was suspicious. Before the police even arrived, there was an altercation, and Martin was fatally shot in the chest. Many people believe that Martin was racially profiled by Zimmerman, because Martin was African American, and Zimmerman is biracial, with a white father and Peruvian mother. The image of the hoodie went viral, and many people put up pictures of themselves in hoodies to show support and respect for Trayvon Martin. One of the hoodie pictures that went viral was the one that LeBron James tweeted- it was a picture of him and his teammates on Miami Heat all wearing hoodies with their hoods up.
On January 14th, 2013, Texas mother of two, Deborah Mitchell wrote a story on CNN’s popular citizen journalism website, iReport. The story, Why I Raise My Children Without God, quickly went ‘viral’ on online including social media and news sites.
“She said she shared this essay on CNN iReport because 'I just felt there is not a voice out there for women/moms like me. I think people misunderstand or are fearful of people who don’t believe in God.” http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-910282
I chose this topic/article because I think it is part of a relevant conversation in the US. Parents are increasingly choosing to avoid teaching their kids Judeo-Christian values and teachings. I think it is part of the wider conversation about the religion's (especially Christianity) role within the public sphere of the US.
Lazy Sunday was the second ever SNL digital short and is known as one of the original viral videos, if not the original YouTube viral video. It is often credited as the reason for YouTube's original success and even referred to by some as the reason why Google bought YouTube. After the video hit YouTube, YouTube's market share of US visits nearly doubled in a week. Along with this, Lazy Sunday marked the beginning of SNL's transformation from only pure sketch comedy to viral SNL digital shorts and The Lonely Island. This can even be connected to the beginning of mass popularity in short viral comedic videos and humorous joke music videos.
Vermin Supreme was a presidential candidate in the 2012 election. He participate in a Lesser-Known Democratic Candidate Presidential Debate that aired on C-SPAN and, when uploaded to YouTube, quickly went viral. Supreme soon moved beyond that video, however, rising to internet fame and becoming a meme due to his satirical mocking of the political system and absurd policies such as a mandatory toothbrushing law, utilizing zombies as a source of energy, and promising a free pony to every American. Many Americans who had become disillusioned with the current political system and dissatisfied with the government found his outright ridiculous policies and brutal honesty refreshing.
In 2010, following the success of this commercial on youtube, Old Spice created a viral marketing campaign consisting of a series of videos that accumulated 6.7 million views in 24 hours. The viral video campaign was not simply a youtube success, but in the month following the campaign, Old Spice body wash sales doubled. For my final paper, I will examine how a viral video campaign can be more successful than campaigns in other media, and how internet sharing can shape the population's views on products or companies
The word absurdity is one I would use to describe this trend in advertising and public media over the past couple of years. Movies like Napoleon Dynamite, TV shows like Adventure Time, and online offerings like Jake and Amir, have taken absurd humor and used them to great success.
I am planning to look into this idea in the context of advertising and psychology.
Aptly stated by the Women and Memory Forum, "Narratives of the Arab Spring are not uniform: they range from idealistic celebration to dark pessimism." I would like to better understand the underlying significance of such a comment: what are these narratives? What really went viral? By examining contemporary literature, Google Analytics, trending terms, Instagram and Twitter, I would like to examine the concepts, images and videos that went viral during the recent political revolutions across the Arab World.