Karen’s PR & Social Media Blog

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December 6, 2011

Creativity, Digital Storytelling, and Humor: Factors to ignite viral videos through social media class projects

Understanding how user generated content goes viral can be summarized in several ways. Usually, it is due to the nature of the content being shared that taps into several key concepts.  The content – whether it is a blog post, update, video, hashtag, or picture – makes us think and it may present a new perspective to think about regarding a particular issue or topic.  Or, it may be humorous and creative to audiences.  Viral videos have been analyzed in terms of how they have been shared across social media platforms as well as how some of these videos have ignited commentary in the traditional media outlets in some cases.

An example of how one video has become a viral sensation in the Louisville area as well as across the digital sphere. Ralph Merkel (Adjunct Professor and Producer and the University of Louisville) teaches several broadcast and online journalism classes in the Department of Communication and one of his assignments he gives to his students is to create a video for their final project.  This semester, one of the groups created a video telling a story featuring UofL basketball player Peyton Siva.  As I have found out during my time in Louisville, basketball is a very big part of the UofL and Louisville culture.  The short video features the basketball player in a fat suit, and shares his “story” in his transformation to become “Siva – The Legacy.” Here is the video:

YouTube Preview Image

What has the result been so far?  The video has over 4,000 hits on YouTube and has been shared on several blogs already. This short video is creative – it is presented like a movie trailer and effectively tells a story that is interesting and unique to the Louisville community.  These are just some of the reasons why this video has become viral – the creativity and story line have generated the interest in viewing this video and sharing it with others in various social circles and platforms.

If you want to check out more about Ralph and what his students are creating for his class, check out his course website where you can read posts and watch some of the student videos.  Congrats Ralph and to his class on creating some creative videos and willing to share them with the online community! :)

Hope you all are having a great day.

Best Wishes,


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