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“Golden Eagle Snatching Baby” amateur video demonstrates the art of going viral February 27, 2013

Posted by rmshepard in Uncategorized.
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You may have seen it on Facebook. A video depicting an eagle swooping down to pick up a young boy playing at a park now has over 40 million hits on YouTube in just a few months. For some time, YouTube comments were flooded with doubters. Many were analyzing the angles, the eagle’s wings, the shadows, etc. Was it real, many wondered? If not, then how was it created?

Buzzfeed‘s Chris Stokel-Walker recently wrote an interesting article on the viral video. As it turns out, its origins started at a technology university in Montreal. The professor challenged his students in a video-effects class to create a viral hoax video. If students got over 100,000 views online, they would get an A. The students used 3-D effects, real camera footage, and actors to stage the whole event. In one day it was viewed 17 million times. As Ryan Cordell, a professor at Northeaster University, told Stokel-Walker, the phenomenon reflects timeless trends in news creation. As Cordell argued, for something to become big news, “It needs to be easily shared; have some level of cuteness — or in this case be something horrifying; and have some kind of challenge, or puzzle, or mystery.”

To see the much-discussed video yourself, watch it below:

Discussion Questions:

1.  What is the art of making a message go viral?

2.  What can advertisers and PR specialists learn from the “Golden Eagle Snatches Baby” video?

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