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Hal Licino

Social Media Overdose: The Realities of YouTube & Viral Data

Jan 17 2012, 03:54 PM by

In 1995 there were 15,000 registered domains. Today the number is over 350 million, which means that there is more than one website for every man, woman and child in the United States. This explosive growth is visible in every aspect of the online world, as social media is now so diverse and widespread that it has become effectively omnipresent with worldwide page views being counted in the trillions. With this staggering proliferation of content, micromarkets are becoming nanomarkets, and it is this new reality that is forcing many online marketers to reconsider the fundamental goals they are trying to achieve through social media.
Two $0 Cost Videos Outdrew Titanic + Avatar
There are still a few people who misunderstand the essence of the online experience itself and might think that since YouTube has over half a billion unique users, posting a video on the site will get all 500+ million to see it. The reality is that 8 years of content are uploaded every day, so if you had 3,000 people doing nothing but watching YouTube videos 24 hours a day you still wouldn’t be able to keep up with the upload rates. A few pint-sized ankle biters can make a relatively big splash by getting lucky and having their content go massively viral. Almost unbelievably, the number 6 & 7 most viewed videos on YouTube with well over 300 million page views each are not big-budget superstar videos but a baby biting a finger and three Italian guys messing around in a bed making believe one of them is giving birth. These goofy videos with a production cost of $0 have been viewed by more people than box office superhits Titanic and Avatar put together (which represent a combined production cost of more than half a billion dollars)!
The Vast Majority of Videos Languish Largely Unwatched
The success of these “silly little videos” reaching hundreds of millions of people can lead an online marketer to erroneously believe that their success can be duplicated and harnessed to commercial ends. Unfortunately, in most cases unless you’re a primary multinational marketer with an online marketing budget well into the millions of dollars, you can forget about making a major impact on a large portion of the internet population. The Earth’s two billion internet users could never consume that vast buffet in anything resembling sizeable numbers. No “secret viral key” exists, as there is nothing demonstrably unique in the 6 & 7 top YouTube hits that is not present in equal or larger measure in any of the millions of other videos on the site. A precious few get lucky and go hyperviral, while the vast majority languish unwatched and unnoticed.
62% of Companies Can’t Handle Their Incoming Social Media Data
In the rush to gain as much advantage as possible in the social media sphere, most online marketers are finding their resources woefully inadequate. Staying atop the social media chatter about your company can be a full time job… for a large staff! Fully 62% of all companies say that they cannot interpret the data they already collect, and this amount of incoming social media data is forecasted to increase 40-fold in the next eight years.
Quadrillions of Keystrokes
A mere handful of writers produced the great classics of literature but that may at least partially be due to the fact that they had very little bona fide competition in a largely illiterate world. With hundreds of millions of people writing and posting on the internet daily, the value of any particular chunk of information has dwindled to next to zero. With orders of magnitude too much social media content floating around, locating the meaningful information amidst the quadrillions of keystrokes may have reached the point of near impossibility.

In social media, buzz is good, but too much buzzing and the whole world starts sounding like an enraged beehive. A new paradigm is well overdue to help online marketers make sense of this frenzied chaos, as the current situation may well be untenable.

Posted in Social Media, Growing Your Business

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