How A Video Goes Viral

Several entries in the Power Line Prize competition have gotten a lot of attention and a lot of views or listens. But unquestionably, the one that has most gone viral so far is Doorbell. If you haven’t yet seen it, you should follow the link and check it out.

So far, Doorbell has been viewed around 150,000 times, divided equally between our archive page and its YouTube page. (We get real-time reports, while the YouTube page updates only periodically.) Doorbell followed a pretty typical pattern for a video that goes viral. This is a screen shot from our Google Analytics account that shows how many times the Doorbell archive page was viewed, starting on July 28 when I posted the video:

The video got a normal number of views for one that appears on our site, declining slowly after it first appeared. But then something happened on August 1. I am not sure whether it was external links or being picked up by some emailers with a lot of friends, but Doorbell started to take off on a trajectory that roughly doubled the number of views each day. Over the last 24 hours on Power Line, Doorbell has been viewed 38,235 times, or, on the average, once every 2 and 1/4 seconds. Traffic on YouTube has been similar.

Traffic continues to rise, and it appears possible that Doorbell could match the 50,000/day level that our most-viewed post ever, America Rising, achieved. Our archive page for America Rising ultimately had 3.8 million views, which means that the video played a perceptible role in motivating voters for the 2010 election. It is our hope that Doorbell, The Spending Is Nuts, and the many other good submissions to our contest will help motivate voters to demand that politicians address the federal debt by getting spending under control.

Toward that end, we suggest that you email links to Doorbell–http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2011/07/doorbell.php–one of the prize winners, or whatever other entries you may like best to your friends and acquaintances, post them on Facebook, etc. If you haven’t seen many of the entries and want to take a look at some of the best videos and songs, go to our YouTube channel and check them out.

What we need is for these products to be viewed not only by those who are already committed conservatives, but by people in the middle who may not yet understand how serious the debt crisis is. That is the real significance of a video or other persuasive product that goes viral and reaches a wide audience.

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