Making Sense of All Those YouTube Videos: On the Red Couch with Kevin Allocca

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Roughly 72 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute. It\’s Kevin Allocca\’s job to make sense of it all. As Trends Manager at YouTube, he\’s responsible for getting a pulse on what people all over the world are searching for, watching and commenting on. We recently sat down with him to get an insider\’s view of YouTube, which you can now connect to on Flipboard.

What\’s your typical day like?
I am constantly keeping an eye on “the social conversation.” Every morning I start off by looking at what are the big news headlines for the day, see what the top shared things are and what people are searching for. And just as important as it is to have that morning “look of the day,” I do it again in the afternoon because we\’re in this world of news cycles that are now six-hours long.

Where can people see what you\’re finding or commenting on?
We\’ve never had the ability to consume entertainment at a global level and when you start looking at all the data coming from all over, you can see some interesting things. We try to house it all at youtube.com/trends.
Where can people see what you\’re finding or commenting on?
We\’ve never had the ability to consume entertainment at a global level and when you start looking at all the data coming from all over, you can see some interesting things. We try to house it all in youtube.com/trends.


How is it possible for users to dig through the enormous amount of video that\’s uploaded to YouTube every day?
We\’ve started to build a few new tools to help sort all this. On the homepage, you can add more channels to your guide, and from there, you can browse some of our more interesting channels around a bunch of topics. Finding and connecting with people whose perspectives and points of view are interesting to you in some way is still a really good way of discovering new content. We\’ve also recently revamped our tools for playlists—they are still an underutilized mechanism to create a really cool experience.

What makes a video go viral?
There isn\’t necessarily a set number of steps you can take to make something go viral, but we do see some things that are common with heavily social videos. In their trajectory, you usually see that in certain points, they\’ve gone through influencers or personal tastemakers—any person or group of people, like Jimmy Kimmel or the front page of Reddit—who help push these things out to a bigger audience and give them a stamp of approval. They have to be things that have some sort of participatory element; either you want to share them or recreate them. But the last piece is that you have to be just really unexpected, entertaining and surprising. That\’s the one thing that is true of all the most popular stuff on the web. When you put those things together, you get the double rainbows and Nyan Cats of the world.

How has the path to virality changed?
The way that things can spread, and the way these cycles have changed has become incredible. I used to make viral videos (watch here) and I had these rules for a video to become a meme or popular: it had to be funny, you could explain it in one sentence, and it had to be less than two minutes long. These were the secrets to viral. Then in March, KONY 2012 gets posted. It gets 30 million views in one day; it was 30 minutes long; it was about a complicated situation happening in Africa, and it has received the most single-day views of anything we\’ve seen before. You sort of have to chalk it up to this ability for things to spread so quickly and the velocity of these things continues to increase. I actually don\’t even know what\’s possible anymore with this kind of stuff.

What else has recently surprised or delighted you?

 

There was this video of this 85-year-old guy showing you how to shuck corn without getting any of the silk on you. His daughter asked him to make this video because she saw he was really good at it and he did, hoping to get like 50 views. It\’s gotten more than 6.5 million views. It turns out when you look at the numbers for the video, it went completely viral through an older age group. So it was like, hey, it\’s not just a bunch of young people that use YouTube, we have the entire population of the web. It\’s also a handy trick if you eat a lot of corn.
There was this video of this 85-year-old guy showing you how to shuck corn without getting any of the silk on you. His daughter asked him to make this video because she saw he was really good at it and he did, hoping to get like 50 views. It\’s gotten more than 6.5 million views. It turns out when you look at the numbers for the video, it went completely viral through an older age group. So it was like, hey, it\’s not just a bunch of young people that use YouTube, we have the entire population of the web. It\’s also a handy trick if you eat a lot of corn.


A few of Allocca\’s favorite feeds:

CitizenTube:Highlights the ability to be virtually anywhere, see something, and share it with the rest of the world.

TED-Ed: A new channel that\’s education-focused, with people you\’d normally never have access to.

Devin Super Tramp: A new channel that\’s education-focused, with people you\’d normally never have access to.

Nathan J. Barnett: A new channel that\’s education-focused, with people you\’d normally never have access to.

YomYomF: A new channel with really cool YouTube stars with scripted and reality-based programs.

CitizenTube: Highlights the ability to be virtually anywhere, see something, and share it with the rest of the world.

TED-Ed: A new channel that\’s education-focused, with people you\’d normally never have access to.

Devin Super Tramp: Very crazy, artistic and interesting videos.

Nathan J. Barnett: For sheer randomness, he makes really silly bizarre dance and sketch videos.

YomYomF: A new channel with really cool YouTube stars with scripted and reality-based programs.

~MiaQ
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