It’s Going Viral People!


When I first started researching for this blog post I found a couple articles outside of the reading. The author of one of those articles said: “I admit it, the term viral marketing is offensive”. I just don’t think that’s true at all and it’s kinda silly to think so nowadays. It’s because nowadays everyone is already aware of what viral videos and campaigns do and what they were designed to do.

I’m a visual learner so here’s a video and a pretty good info-graphic about how to go about viral marketing.


Source KISSmetrics

Because the real point of a viral campaign is to market your product, gain awareness, and ultimately increase revenue. There’s even been a bit of viral marketing done right here within the RTVF walls. We’ve all seen the extremely popular video Gangnam Style by Psy. A Korean pop star that now has over 900,000,000 views on YouTube.

But maybe you havent seen the video done by North Texas Television to promote their late night talk show. I think it’s extremely cool. The producers saw the success of the original and decided to make their own in attempts that it will go viral, to gain more viewers. Now this video isn’t in the millions of views, but it’s nearing 2,000 and that is something to be proud of.

When my group presented we talked about viral marketing and one of the most successful viral campaigns is the “Will It Blend” videos by Blendtec. We posed the question in class of why we thought it was viral and we came up with shock value. Who would ever expect someone to blend a $600.00 iPad? But it’s because of that shock value that has gained awareness to the brand. I’m sure if I was in the buying a blender market I’d go out for a Blendtec.

One of my absolute favorite viral videos and video series are the Ken Block Gymkhana videos. If you’re asking yourself, “what in the world is gymkhana and how do I pronounce that?”. Well one thing at a time. Check this out.

What was originally meant as just a cool infomercial for gear heads like myself turned into a  hugely viral video with almost 40 million views. It’s because of this video, that MILLIONS of people now know his name and support him in his current racing series. So not only does it bring in revenue for DC Shoes but the World Rallycross Championship also has a lot more publicity because of these videos.

This last one is simply because I’m a car guy. If you found the first Gymkhana video interesting, here is his latest where he drifts through the streets of San Francisco.


How Law Enforcement Agencies use Social Media

In this day and age being an accomplice is as easy as “liking” something. The police and other law enforcement agencies are cracking down on suspects using social media. So the next time you have a conversation with a shady friend, or maybe you’re a hooligan that does the crime committing you should probably keep it offline.

Let’s go over a couple social media outlets:

We all learned in class that our very own Denton Police Department if using Twitter as a crime deterrent. Denton P.D. tweets mug shots of the people they’ve arrested. Including, the date, time, offense, and age of the suspect.

Follow them @DentonPolice

In a recent article by CNN they talk about how one New York City gang member lost his privacy rights when he shared details on previous crimes and threats against others on Facebook. Here is the debate:


“Debating the Fourth Amendment

In the case of Colon, the alleged gang member, his attorneys claimed his Facebook posts were protected under the Fourth Amendment, which shields people’s homes and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures. But a federal judge disagreed, saying Colon forfeited any expectation of privacy when he shared online postings with friends.

In other words, the online world is just like the offline world in many respects: Your friends can inform on you to police, and detectives can go undercover to catch you in the act.

Users don’t have Fourth Amendment protection rights when they store information with a third party, such as a website, legal experts said. But Fakhoury and civil-liberties groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation want to challenge the idea that people have no right to privacy for information stored online, especially when it comes to location data. (Even when a post or photo doesn’t include public location information, the social network can track its location by seeing the IP address from which it was shared.)

The Electronic Frontier Foundation also would like to see more social networks stand up for their users when law enforcement requests information. The foundation is trying to educate the public about how information can be viewed and obtained.

“People post without realizing the consequences, and any change to preserve privacy has to start with greater awareness by users,” Fakhoury said.”


CNN goes on to say that police often create fake online accounts to befriend these suspects so that they can view their private information. They can also go the legal route and request subpoenas and warrants if they think there’s imminent danger.

Policy Violations:

Universities have begun using Facebook to investigate underage drinking and violations of dry campus policies. Students that post pictures of underage drinking behavior, or being affiliated with drinking-related groups are being looked into.


Police are using Facebook to help stop and end cyber-bullying. With the help of a teenage informant and volunteer the authorities will go through Facebook pages to investigate instances of cyber-bullying.

Police departments post and reach out to their community for support.

Here is a YouTube video from a Denver news station from 2007 about how law enforcement uses YouTube to catch crooks.



Even MySpace has been used. In February of 2006, a 16-year old Colorado boy was arrested for juvenile possession of a firearm after posting pictures on MySpace of himself posing with rifles and handguns.


Various social media outlets are being used 24/7 to help catch criminals. A recent survey was done to shed some light on law enforcement using social media.

According to a LexisNexis® Risk Solutions survey of 1,200 Federal, State, and Local Law Enforcement professionals

  • 4 of 5 agencies use various social media to assist in investigations (Facebook & YouTube more so)
  • 67% believe social media helps solve crimes quickly
  • 87% of the time, search warrants utilizing social media to establish probably cause hold up in court when challenged
  • Close to 50% of respondents use social media weekly
  • Only 10% learned how to use social media for investigations through formal training given at the agency.


How does this make you feel?

Do you think law enforcement agencies have the right to peer into our social media sites?

Let me know in the comment section below.

Post by Michael Dobbins.

Audience Participation Memes and Vlogging

Blogging is not inherently collaborative. Even with the use of platforms like Youtube, “sharing of content alone does not directly lead to collaboration” (Hyde et al., 2012, p. 53). Beyond the use of aggregate filtering in the form of page ‘views,’ Youtube does not presuppose audience participation. Many blogs and video channels represent the traditional mass media approach of a one-to-many transmission with little interaction with the viewers.

However, many video bloggers (vloggers) on Youtube have developed patterns for audience participation. By performing challenges, conducting ‘ask’ sessions, and even opening audience mail in front of the camera, vloggers respond to direct audience inputs . These learned activities are a great example of internet meme cultures, and the vloggers themselves often site the vlogging community or public at large as their inspiration.

The Cinnamon Challenge

The Cinnamon Challenge is an internet meme where participants record themselves eating a spoonful of cinnamon. What sounds like an innocuous dare usually causes fits of gagging, spitting, and choking due to the strong power of the spice. The results are often hilarious (if not masochistic).

Let’s check this phenomena against Davison’s (2012) components for internet memes.

Manifestation – The manifestation of the cinnamon challenge is the videos posted by participants. A search returns about 40,600 instances of these available on Youtube. The actual videos are not replicated, instead each vlogger creates their own.

Behavior – The behavior of this meme involves recording oneself attempting the challenge and then uploading onto the internet.

Ideal – The ideal is the challenge itself – the act of pouring the cinnamon into your mouth. The underlying concept here is that “people choking are hilarious.”

While a number of news outlets have warned of the dangers of these challenges, many vloggers seem to look at it as a form of initiation. Beyond internet meme, the Cinnamon Challenge may also serve as an example of social norms developed by the Youtube community. The popularity of the Cinnamon Challenge has encouraged some vloggers to also attempt other challenges suggested by their viewers.

Ask Sessions and Mail Time

In ‘ask’ sessions, vloggers respond to questions posed by their audience. The audience will post comments or directly message the vloggers in hopes of having their question answered in the next video. This type of call-and-response highlights the benefits of the social community of Youtube. This sort of collaboration leads to increased intimacy with the vlogger (from the audience perspective). ‘Ask’ sessions have also developed into an internet meme where vloggers try to answer a large number of questions in a limited amount of time.

Some vloggers will also open fan mail received from viewers on camera. This action has its own sort of culture where viewers will purposely mail in humorously strange objects or the vlogger’s favorite candy.

Collaboration and Vlogging

While this sort of audience participation is not a “strong” example of collaboration when matched to Hyde et al.’s (2012) criteria, there are a number of positive traits. The audience and vloggers alike strive toward the goal of engaging Youtube videos. Intention is assumed when audience members go out of their way to suggest a challenge, ask a question, or mail in items. The participation is accessible to any audience member that wants to take part. Vlogging falls short in areas of network topography, equality, and property as the creator ultimately retains most of the power in deciding what is released and what is excluded in the process.