What’s Viral This Second, and Why

 

It may be hard to predict what will go viral, but one way to gauge what might have some success with young online audiences is to look at content that has set the web on fire in the past, and try to understand exactly what the appeal was. Playing copycat is not the goal, but if the core of the allure can be replicated, you might have a better chance of hitting it big. Here are some of the things that are going viral as you read this post, and why they might be capturing clicks. 

 

1. Telekinetic Coffee Shop Surprise

This marketing video for the upcoming Carrie remake takes place in a simple coffee shop, has a fairly innocuous name, and reveals that it’s a prank right off the bat—and it has gotten over 17 million views since being posted on YouTube Monday. (Yes, that's just two days ago Monday.) The clip shows the entire set up of the hoax, including the actors involved rehearsing and high-fiving, at its start before showing the reactions of the bystanders in the coffee shop as they witness an angry girl throw a grown man up against the wall through “telekinisis” (a la Carrie, of course).
 
The Appeal: ”Prankvertising” 
Whether due to their exposure to Punk’d during their formative years, or (more likely) because they crave moments of surprise and unexpected excitement, Millennials have a real love for a good old-fashioned prank—or, as the bar continues to be raised, a perfectly executed, high-stakes, special-effects-laden stunt. Entertainers have been taking advantage of this prank-appeal for some time: Jimmy Kimmel regularly racks up views and buzz by encouraging his audience to prank their loved ones in his YouTube challenges, or, in the case of his recent “Twerk Fail” prank, pulling one over on pretty much all of America. It was only a matter of time before pranking…

 
 

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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “Master of None represents my generation because it takes the little things (going to a taco place) and expands on how the choices are debilitating.”—Female, 33, MN

We know how many Millennials planned to watch last night’s debates, but how many knew they could watch in virtual reality? VR social network AltspaceVR has created an experience that allows participants to watch live debates virtually, in a VR re-creation of NBC News Democracy Plaza at New York’s Rockefeller Center. At the launch party, attendees, including Al Roker, were represented as avatars and instead of applause, emojis were used to express reactions. AltspaceVR has been working to build a virtual community over the past year and hopes to bring people together during “a bitterly divided campaign” with the new experience. (The Verge

The latest smart toys are getting kids away from screens. Global sales of smart toys are expected to increase from $2.8 billion in 2015 to $11.3 billion by 2020, and according to one expert, synching a toy to a phone or tablet will soon be as common as putting in batteries. To appease parents concerned with screen time, these toys are increasingly about physically interacting with the toy itself, putting apps in the background. One example of the trend is Smarty: an internet-connected personal assistant for kids that answers questions, reminds them to do their homework, streams music and books, and more. (The Guardian

What’s holding back the Millennials from creating more startups? Money. A new study found that 72% of 18-34-year-olds see entrepreneurship as being "essential for new innovation and jobs in our economy," and almost eight in ten see working for a startup “a signal of success”—but only 22% say they would start one of their own. Lack of capital is holding four in ten back from taking the risk—for women and minorities that number is even higher. (Business Insider

Toy brands are constantly competing for kids’ attention, and now that industry drama is coming to the small screen. Amazon is introducing Toy Wars, a drama series based on the rivalry between toy giants Hasbro and Mattel. The show is based on the non-fiction book Toy Wars: The Epic Struggle Between G.I. Joe, Barbie, and the Companies that Make Them, which follows a “free spirit” Hasbro executive who was forced to take over the company when his “marketing genius” brother passed away from AIDS. The series will be co-written by Book Of Mormon star Josh Gad and The O.C. creator Josh Schwartz, whose father helped turned Hasbro into a top toy company. (Deadline

Communal housing is a growing Millennial trend, but it also dates back to the Middle Ages. Co-housing groups have been catching on as young people and families look to share household responsibilities, cut costs, and have a deeper sense of community with others. While it might seem strange in modern times, the instinct is ancient: According to A World of Their Own Making: Myth, Ritual, and the Quest for Family Values, medieval Europe homes were “essentially gathering places for small groups of revolving residents,” where people lived with friends and extended communities. (The Atlantic

Quote of the Day: “Adventure Time is the show that best represents my generation because we like the nostalgic aspect of watching cartoons but we also like off-the-wall plots.” –Male, 21, MI 

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