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Friday, 23 October 2009 09:21

"Always blow on the pie"

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What causes a YouTube video to "go viral?"  And has the term "go viral" already "jumped the shark?"

Today the Internet is abuzz with a video on YouTube where a New Zealand policeman does the best-ever deadpan response to a very obvious lie.

In the short video, a suspect is being questioning over a series of robberies in the local area.  He claims to be out to buy a meat pie at the local service station.  Without skipping a beat, the policeman says "Three o'clock in the morning, that pie has probably been in the warming draw for about 12 hours.

"It will be thermo-nuclear - always blow on the pie. Safer communities together,"

Readers must watch it to appreciate the acting abilities of the policeman.

So, what does it take to "go viral?"  There must clearly be something to catch the interest of the viewer, make them laugh, but it has to be strong enough for them to want to tell their friends.  Being picked up by TV or other news services doesn't hurt, of course!

However, the whole concept of "going viral" seems to have lost its sparkle.  When we see the proliferation of viral video aggregation pages (here or here for instance) we know that the world has moved on.

"Jumped the Shark," as they say.

And in case you're wondering, the term refers to an incident towards the end of the TV series "Happy Days."  In order to revive flagging interest in the show, they producers actually filmed a scene where 'Fonzie' jumped over a shark on water skis.  The intention was to increase the audience, but the actual outcome was for the audience to be quite sure that the show was on its last legs.  The audience was correct, the show was cancelled soon after.

All we need now is for the shark-jumping video to go viral - the circle will be complete.

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David Heath

David Heath has had a long and varied career in the IT industry having worked as a Pre-sales Network Engineer (remember Novell NetWare?), General Manager of IT&T for the TV Shopping Network, as a Technical manager in the Biometrics industry, and as a Technical Trainer and Instructional Designer in the industrial control sector. In all aspects, security has been a driving focus. Throughout his career, David has sought to inform and educate people and has done that through his writings and in more formal educational environments.

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