When I’m online, inevitably I land on a video about cats. It’s not intentional, and they are usually pretty simple: cats playing in a box, cats hissing at a dog, or cats falling off of something. The videos are endless, but what strikes me is how many fellow web surfers there are watching them. For instance, one of my favorites is Surprised Kitty and that video has over 67 million views!
Two cats trying to understand a treadmill 2.2 million views, while An Engineer’s Guide to Cats has almost 6 million views. Charlie Schmidt’s Keyboard Cat has over 28 million views, but a stalking cat tops that with 37 million!
This brings me to my resolution. I will post a video online in 2013 of my cats doing something cute, and achieve a viewership of at least 30,000.
I know that doesn’t seem ambitious compared with the aforementioned videos, but I want to be realistic about how many people I get to view my cat video. It’s not like I haven’t tried this before. I once posted a video of my Siamese fetching a ball and it only got 431 views.
How do I achieve a viral video? According to Kevin Allocco, trends manager for YouTube, you need three things: tastemakers, communities of participation, and unexpectedness.
His example of a tastemaker is Jimmy Kimmel, who introduces his audience to new things like a funny video. Participation refers to other people’s interpretation or manipulation of the project, like a remix of the original video. Of course, videos that show some kind of surprise are the most memorable.
Applying those elements to my first cat video, I should be thrilled 431 people watched it. There really was nothing about it that would attract the attention of a national broadcaster. No techie would have been inspired to take my video and remix it with music or create a short animated gif from it. Plus, you knew what my cat was about to do, since the title gave it away.
The best thing about my quest this year, besides getting people to look at my cats, is my efforts won’t be a waste of time like many think cat videos are. In fact, it has a public service element to it. Earlier this year Japanese research found that watching cat videos at work not only improves your mood, it makes you more productive.
Called “The Power of Kawaii: Viewing Cute Images Promotes a Careful Behavior and Narrows Attentional Focus,” the study suggests that looking at cute images at work can boost attention to details and overall performance.
So now when your boss catches you watching my video, you can say you’re doing it with the company’s best interest at heart. There’s no “I” in team, or in cat.
Posting a viral cat video is my New Year’s Resolution, and it will be executed authentically. I don’t plan on forcing my cats into a situation that I deem funny but really isn’t for the animals. I will just make sure something like a camera or phone is nearby at all times so when my felines decide to be cute I am there to capture it.
Happy New Year!
Melissa Carter is also a writer for Huffington Post. She broke ground as the first out lesbian radio personality on a major station in Atlanta and was one of the few out morning show personalities in the country. Follow her on Twitter @MelissaCarter