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I have waited 45 years to be the first journalist/commentator to discover a new social phenomenon. I have finally done it. Like most such discoveries, mine was a fluke.
Before I present my findings, let me review. Google is a world-transforming social phenomenon. So is its subdivision, YouTube. One thing that makes YouTube unique in social history is the fact that it reveals the number of views a video has had.
This numerical indicator has not been widely put to use by social commentators. So, I shall offer my back-of-the-envelope assessment. If a video gets 10 million hits, it is worth investigating. If it gets 50 million hits, it is a phenomenon. But it may be what in the entertainment industry is called a one-trick pony.
If it gets 90 million hits, and has back-up videos that get millions of hits, it is a social phenomenon. Something fundamental is going on. The challenge is to figure out what . . . and then prove it.
I have found such a phenomenon. No major media outlet has. I am hereby staking my claim. (Too bad I cannot monetize it. But I wouldn’t even if I could.)
I am a big Tony Furtado fan. He was twice named the bluegrass banjo player of the year. Then he switched to blues guitar. I think he’s the best slide guitar player around.
The solo is simply incredible.
My eyes spotted something. Along the right-hand side of a YouTube screen are more YouTube clips. They were all guitarists’ clips, as far as I could see. But one caught my eye.
My wife was behind me. She had come up to see why I was making odd noises while watching a video. I had my earphones on. I was listening to Furtado.
I had her put on the phones. Then I pointed to the YouTube image: 89 million views.
I was listening to a spectacular Furtado clip. It had under 18,000 views. But here was “Best Ever!!!” It had almost 90 million.
I had never before stumbled across a YouTube video with over 10 million. I found the South Korean guitar kid who played Pachelbel’s Canon when it had about a million. That was on March 17, 2006. It is now around 79 million.
He is a one-trick pony. He knows it. He has no interest in becoming a performer.
Yet the girl in the photo had no guitar. She was just sitting there. What was this? So, I clicked.
It is video of a 20-something girl talking in front of a cheap camcorder. Her topic: best sex ever. She asked her viewers to send a message telling her about their best sex ever.
Why YouTube posted it in a guitar section, I do not know. It is not there today.
89 MILLION VIEWS
I could hardly believe it. How does some girl’s video get 89 million views? Anyone can make a YouTube video on any topic. Why this girl? There is nothing unique about her. On this topic? It’s all over the Web. There is nothing unique or compelling about her or her topic.
Was this a mistake? Did Google’s counter malfunction?
I looked her up. She has a YouTube channel. This is what I found.
Do you see that number? 225 million views.
Let’s compare this with someone we all know about: Oprah.
This seems impossible. Some 20-something with a camcorder has dwarfed the queen of the media.
September 17, 2010
Copyright © 2010 Gary North