When smart phones came into play so too did the affordance to make and capture video anytime and any where. When social media sites arose so too did the affordance to share those videos instantly. Take for example, in recent updates on Facebook viral videos of the same category can be aggregated together making it easier for Facebookers to watch videos relating to the same topic or theme. This curation generates more viewers and allows for more participation.
Facebook is a multimodal platform. It allows for the sharing of text, image and videos unlike websites such as WorldstarHipHop. Worldstar is a video sharing website essentially like YouTube. It shares videos ranging from talent exposure to criminal and sexual content. However, Worldstar has become the platform for posting violent videos that have been purposely captured. It has become an epidemic in a way; a fight breaks out, the cell phone goes up, and someone yells, “WOORLDDDD STARRR” which indicates that someone is recording with the intention of posting the video on that site. Worldstar unlike YouTube does not censors their content and for this reason it has made them a powerhouse platform. So what is it essentially that has allowed Worldstar to become such a major viral video hosting sensation?
One, the platform hosts some of the rawest, raunchiest, stupidest, and coolest videos to surface on the internet. Secondly, it is the epitome of controversy. The videos posted are ethically and morally provoking and for this reason it has become a platform that people flock to in order to view the latest most provocative video. As mentioned in, Lebduska’s article on Racist Visual Rhetoric, pathos and ethos allows us to attach ourselves to the medium. We feel ethically responsible and even though we become morally currupted from viewing the posts we somehow need to watch them in order to be a part of the conversation and to contribute to the debate against such acts. As in Cohen and Kenny, ” You have to somehow feel that, if you don’t share it, you may be doing someone a disservice by leaving them out of the loop” (117). We take upon ourselves to actively participate and add to the circulation because we feel as though we owe it to other people to see these acts. We share, tag, like, and comment these videos into a viral sensation without truly understanding what in fact they are promoting.
Thirdly, it is a platform that promotes the type of videos it hosts. Violent and sexual content is posted daily and mostly by a younger generation. Those who post these videos are trying to raise eyebrows. They want and crave the attention and will go to far extremes to achieve it. “While digital media have undoubtedly given people the tools with which to attract attention, some are concerned that this is leading people to do ‘anything; as long as it generates attention.’ (Jones and Hanfer, 92). Even in the example of America’s Funniest Home Videos, viewers purposely sent in videos of sometimes violent accidents all in the hopes of winning the titles of funniest home video.
Platforms like Worldstar promote the violent video it hosts and in a way beg for the participation. Sites such as this allow and urge users to not only to view the video but also create them. You have to ask yourself how far will we go in order to become viral sensation?