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Opinion Editorials

Paying for visual content? Wondering why it’s not going viral?

It’s the internet equivalent of winning the lottery. It’s Bieber, Kardashians, and Purina’s Puppyhood. It’s MAGIC. And here’s why you can’t buy it.

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I’d like a viral video please

Yes, and we’d like to make you one.

It’s the internet equivalent of winning the lottery. It’s Bieber, Kardashians, and Purina’s Puppyhood. It’s MAGIC.

As advertisers attempt to reduce their costs in media and become more aware of the power of the internet, they are more frequently telling me and other creatives in our community, “I want you to make me a viral video.” Well, probably not. We can make you a great video that will appeal to your customers and sell your product or idea, but viral? Probably not.

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But I want it now!

We all want to be famous or celebrated. We want to stand out in that crowded, noisy, bloviated place that connects us all to one another in ways we revere (when things go right) and fear (when things go wrong and we’re attacked by a comments section that’s more destructive than a nuclear blast and seems to live on in the minds of our investors and customers for, well, EVER).

I work with great writers and creative people, “Surely (clients say), they can sit down and come up with a viral video. There is so much talent in Austin in animation, and games, and graphics, and video, and writing, and production, and events, surely you can get together the right folks and make a viral video”. Not so fast. And, most significantly, not that easy. Why?

Each minute of the day there are 48,000 videos uploaded to YouTube. That’s 2,880,000 homemade, professional, kitty, puppy, cute kid, product, and other videos an hour competing to go viral or 69,100,000 videos a day longing to go viral, seven days a week.

It’s all about your audience

Harvard Business Review says videos go viral depending on how they make the internet community “feel”, and that they make the watchers want to share because it says something about THEM (their beliefs, sense of humor, opinion, lifestyle, etc.) Forbes says focus on what’s happening in popular culture and speak the same language as your target audience with interest in popular culture (like Game of Thrones, Star Wars, Downton Abbey), and your content is more likely to be shared and possibly, just possibly, go viral.

TED talks instruct us that videos go viral with the help of a community and tastemakers within two days of posting ­ best to be done on Thursday or Friday.

The Night Agency, which produced Purina’s Puppyhood viral video, had all those things in addition to a client willing to take a risk with a new idea. It also had puppies. Their commercial is brilliant. So is their visual work for Time, Keds, Lego, and Hanes,­ but none of those videos went viral. They hit the lottery. But, they don’t hit it every day nor on demand.

Viral or not, high quality is high quality

So, if Jimmy Kimmel or Ellen are in your rolodex, and if you know a blogger or if you have 50,000,000 Twitter followers, and if you have a pack of puppies or kittens willing to do a parody of “The Force Awakens”, our chances improve to make you a viral video.

There’s still no guarantee.

A unique, custom video that sells what you make to the customer you target? Guaranteed. Viral? One chance a day in 69,100,000. Still, if you want to represent your company or your brand, getting help from professionals is a good idea because even if you don’t go viral, you’ll still have a quality video.

#GoingViral

Matthew Winters is the owner of Austin Visuals 3D Animation Studio , a Full-Service 2D & 3D animation studio, advertising agency, and video production studio. As one of Austin’s movers and shakers, he also founded Speed Friending Events which produces networking mixers and social events in over 14 cities nationally. Matthew is dedicated to providing solutions to social and technology related issues
in the industry.

Opinion Editorials

If Reddit goes IPO, will it have to shed its soul?

(EDITORIAL) Reddit is known as a firebrand, a bastion of free speech, but if they go public, will they be able to remain as they are now?

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Reddit, the eighth-most popular website on the Internet, is reportedly considering an IPO. As a site valued at over 1.8 billion dollars, this is great news for the company itself – but how much of Reddit will remain if the IPO goes through?

Reddit’s history is steeped in controversy, from minor incidents such as invasion of privacy and a few creepily quirky community members to allegations of child pornography and egregious hate speech. While Reddit’s policy has allowed it to tighten posting restrictions regarding the latter two, the fact remains that Reddit – for all its usefulness – is viewed by many as a ticking time bomb.

An IPO would certainly lend back to Reddit a degree of credibility not seen since its inception, but the problem is that Reddit itself (the haven of free speech and original content that made it so popular in the first place) might not survive the offering. Given the platform’s controversial past, many believe it likely that stakeholders would move to tighten further the restrictions on the platform, ultimately ending a significant era in Reddit’s history.

Admittedly, Reddit has come a long way since its early days of supporting user-created content regardless of persuasion: this past year saw entire subreddits shut down for violating the terms of use regarding hate speech, and the platform certainly has cracked down on illegal and abusive content. Unfortunately, the history might be too much to shake off going forward, which is why we think that Reddit’s branding won’t be a part of the final IPO.

The platform’s developers’ dedication to free speech and truth-seeking is what makes Reddit so fantastic, and that’s not liable to change – it’s the most marketable aspect of the site, after all – but perhaps the rationale behind going public lies in a sense of duty rather than routine. 2017 has seen some of the most reprehensible instances of false reporting and deliberate misguidance in recent history; maybe Reddit’s team feels that they can provide a stable news platform at the cost of some personality.

At any rate, the IPO itself isn’t set in stone, and is unlikely to take place for quite some time. As the situation develops, it will be interesting to see if Reddit embraces its past, or sheds it altogether.

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Opinion Editorials

‘Follow your passion and the money will follow’ is bulls**t advice

(EDITORIAL) Following your passion can create success, though it may not be financial. So should you really just “do what you love” and hope for the best?

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If you asked anyone who knows me, they would tell you that I’m a strong advocate for people following their passion. However, when I encourage people to pursue their dreams, this comes with a big asterisk.

I recently heard someone use a phrase along the lines of, “if you do what you love, the money will follow.” Um… no.

While it’s great that you’ve found something you’re passionate about, that’s only a trillionth of the battle. You need to be willing to work your ass off and be willing to sacrifice everything in order to make that enthusiasm into a success.

Most people that have started their own business will tell you that it took a while into the process to begin paying themselves. Again, if it truly is your passion, this is all worth it in the end. But if you like food and shelter, it might not be.

Say, for example, your passion is acting and your goal in life is to become a famous movie star. Now, you can’t pull a Tobias Funke and simply say, “I’m an actor” and then expect everything to miraculously fall into place.

Like any other passion, you need to invest in yourself. You’ll need to get headshots, take acting classes, and find a flexible day job that allows you to go on auditions. Cutting corners on any of this in order to expedite the process or save a few bucks will end up hurting you in the long run.

For the sake of this article, let’s define “passion” as loving something so much you couldn’t imagine doing anything else… you would even do it for free. And, as there is no correlation between having passion for something and money, you just might.

While doing what you love is admirable, be aware that it may take an incredibly long time to see results in the form of numbers. Because of this, it’s wise to always have a back up plan to support yourself financially and pursue passion with a strong business plan in tact.

It is never wrong to want to follow your passion. I personally think that everyone should give it at least something of a shot during the course of their career so that you never ask “what if?” But following passion because you read a cliche statement can lead to major financial and emotional losses, so put on your business hat before blindly chasing dreams.

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Opinion Editorials

Tech CEO tweet ruins years of a young designer’s hard work

(EDITORIAL) With a tweet here and there, thoughtless questions have potentially bullied a young Asian woman in tech out of her career.

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It’s hard enough for women, particularly women of color, to make it in the world of tech, without rude jerks questioning if you literally exist.

Sadly, that’s what happened to Naomi Wu, also known as “SexyCyborg,” a 23-year old cyberpunk superstar from Shenzhen, China who has amassed a huge following for her 3D printing experiments and other techie pursuits. Wu has 140,000 followers and millions of views for her YouTube channel, where she shows off her experiments and provides educational tutorials.

Unfortunately, some rude dudes from America can’t seem to imagine that a young Asian woman is capable of the feats that Wu has accomplished.

Dale Dougherty, CEO of the DIY magazine Maker (and an official schmuck), has cyberbullied Wu so badly that it is said to have damaged her career. He tweeted, “I am questioning who she really is. Naomi is a persona, not a real person. She is several or many people.”

This despite the fact that Wu says that she has actually spoken to Dougherty, and that he knows she is real. “For Westerners who don’t understand the important of reputation in China it seems like a very minor thing,” says Wu, “it is everything here and there’s no repairing this.”

Wu has even lost a sponsorship deal from a 3D printer company over the accusations that she isn’t who she says she is.

Dougherty eventually apologized, but Wu says that “the damage had been done” at that point, and that Dougherty knew the accusations would be “devastating” to her “reputation and professional prospects.”

Wu says that the attack is motivated by white male entitlement to tech spaces.

She says that she can’t imagine Dougherty attacking “a white lady from San Francisco.” Wu has been an advocate for diversity in tech and maker spaces. “I kept pushing for more inclusion – not just me, other underrepresented people,” she says. “They didn’t like being pushed. This is payback.”

We stand behind Wu as she continues to push the edge in tech spaces, and say shame on you to bullies who won’t make space for women and racial minorities. Sorry you’re not as cool as SexyCyborg, but that’s on you and you need to get over it.

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