My vi­ral res­o­lu­tion

Cats, not calo­ries, for 2013

GA Voice - - Columnists -

I’m not one to make New Year’s res­o­lu­tions. I be­lieve af­ter months of rush­ing to count­less par­ties, along with tak­ing in the count­less calo­ries, it is nat­u­ral to want to spend the next few months tak­ing it easy, eat­ing healthy, and work­ing out.

How­ever, some big an­nounce­ment that your in­ten­tion for 2013 is to have the per­fect body and live a balanced life is self-de­feat­ing, since a res­o­lu­tion is noth­ing more than an at­tempt to mag­i­cally get mo­ti­vated for some­thing you have never been able to do be­fore.

But this year is dif­fer­ent. I have a res­o­lu­tion I plan to ful­fill. And it has noth­ing to do with food, weight, or leisure. It’s about cats.

When I’m on­line, in­evitably I land on a video about cats. It’s not in­ten­tional, and they are usu­ally pretty sim­ple: cats play­ing in a box, cats hiss­ing at a dog, or cats fall­ing off of some­thing. The videos are end­less, but what strikes me is how many fel­low web surfers there are watch­ing them. For in­stance, one of my fa­vorites is Sur­prised Kitty and that video has over 67 mil­lion views!

Two cats try­ing to un­der­stand a tread­mill 2.2 mil­lion views, while An En­gi­neer’s Guide to Cats has al­most 6 mil­lion views. Char­lie Sch­midt’s Key­board Cat has over 28 mil­lion views, but a stalk­ing cat tops that with 37 mil­lion!

This brings me to my res­o­lu­tion. I will post a video on­line in 2013 of my cats do­ing some­thing cute, and achieve a view­er­ship of at least 30,000.

I know that doesn’t seem am­bi­tious com­pared with the afore­men­tioned videos, but I want to be real­is­tic about how many peo­ple I get to view my cat video. It’s not like I haven’t tried this be­fore. I once posted a video of my Si­amese fetch­ing a ball and it only got 431 views.

How do I achieve a vi­ral video? Ac­cord­ing to Kevin Al­locco, trends man­ager for YouTube, you need three things: tastemak­ers, com­mu­ni­ties of par­tic­i­pa­tion, and un­ex­pect­ed­ness.

His ex­am­ple of a tastemaker is Jimmy Kim­mel, who in­tro­duces his au­di­ence to new things like a funny video. Par­tic­i­pa­tion refers to other peo­ple’s in­ter­pre­ta­tion or ma­nip­u­la­tion of the project, like a remix of the orig­i­nal video. Of course, videos that show some kind of sur­prise are the most mem­o­rable.

Ap­ply­ing those el­e­ments to my first cat video, I should be thrilled 431 peo­ple watched it. There really was noth­ing about it that would at­tract the at­ten­tion of a na­tional broad­caster. No techie would have been in­spired to take my video and remix it with mu­sic or cre­ate a short an­i­mated gif from it. Plus, you knew what my cat was about to do, since the ti­tle gave it away.

The best thing about my quest this year, be­sides get­ting peo­ple to look at my cats, is my ef­forts won’t be a waste of time like many think cat videos are. In fact, it has a pub­lic ser­vice el­e­ment to it. Ear­lier this year Ja­panese re­search found that watch­ing cat videos at work not only im­proves your mood, it makes you more pro­duc­tive.

Called “The Power of Kawaii: View­ing Cute Im­ages Pro­motes a Care­ful Be­hav­ior and Nar­rows At­ten­tional Fo­cus,” the study sug­gests that look­ing at cute im­ages at work can boost at­ten­tion to de­tails and over­all per­for­mance.

So now when your boss catches you watch­ing my video, you can say you’re do­ing it with the com­pany’s best in­ter­est at heart. There’s no “I” in team, or in cat.

Post­ing a vi­ral cat video is my New Year’s Res­o­lu­tion, and it will be ex­e­cuted au­then­ti­cally. I don’t plan on forc­ing my cats into a sit­u­a­tion that I deem funny but really isn’t for the an­i­mals. I will just make sure some­thing like a cam­era or phone is nearby at all times so when my fe­lines de­cide to be cute I am there to cap­ture it.

Happy New Year!

Melissa Carter is also a writer for Huff­in­g­ton Post. She broke ground as the first out les­bian ra­dio per­son­al­ity on a ma­jor sta­tion in At­lanta and was one of the few out morn­ing show per­son­al­i­ties in the coun­try. Fol­low her on Twit­ter @Melis­saCarter

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