A while ago I blogged about how I had “discovered” a viral video.
I recently had an experience of just how life is serendipitous.
Ian / FollowTheFoot released a video which I thought was hilarious, and clearly worthy of more eyeballs, so I posted it to reddit to /r/videos and /r/travel.
2 hours later, someone posted the same video, with the same title, again to /r/videos and front paged it.
I think this highlights several things:
- that you win some, and lose some, and that life is not always “fair”, even if you were there first
- the reason you failed may not be because you were wrong that the content was good
- the first few initial votes on reddit are the most important to kicking it off
- that it was clearly worth trying, as it was clearly deserving of extra eyeballs as I thought
Things like this, happen all the time through life:
When someone suggests an idea you originally tried a few months ago, and it works majestically for them.
That’s just the way it is, and the quicker you get over it, and realise that most of the time, it also works in your favour, the better!
This sounds quite pretentious, mainly because claiming you watched something “before it was famous” is incredibly hipster, but this isn’t meant to be. I just want to tell you a story…
A few weeks ago I was browsing, /r/travel on reddit and I came across this cute video a guy had made about travelling south east asia with his shoes. The guy was just starting a mini-series called “FollowTheFoot”.
I really enjoy travel videos, I was interested in more details behind the cinematography, so I asked him a few questions and, as is the beauty of reddit, he graciously repeatedly responded, finishing with a:
And best of luck to you! Just keep shooting, keep editing, and keep making new videos
I subscribed to his youtube channel so I’d find out about new videos, but I had no idea there would be anything more to it.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve watched his travel videos [walking through bat caves!], enjoying the editing, posted to facebook but not didn’t get much interest.
Yesterday, I got back from a weekend of work and saw a video he’d posted a few days earlier. It was a bit of a different vibe. This time, using basic CGI and narration, he beautifully explain the games we all played as a child.
I watched it, saw the double digits view count, thought, “ah, reddit might like that”, and posted it with a slightly provocative title to /r/videos.
It started rapidly gaining upvotes. I’ve seen how, on reddit at least, getting inertia, is important and so to be at 3-400 upvotes in less than an hour meant it was going to the front page. I messaged FollowTheFoot to tell him reddit loved him again and went to bed.
When I woke up, youtube was reporting that the video had about 30,000 views. Impressive I thought. Then I realised that that’s a good deal of inertia, and the video was probably going viral.
Waking up somewhere round the globe, FollowTheFoot messaged me:
Hey Tim, are you the Reddit OP? Thanks man! If you want, PM me your address and I’ll send you a unique postcard
A completely unnecessary, but very touching gesture that I’ll be taking him up on – what an amazing lesson in how to be awesome on the internet!
The video has gone “full viral” now. The last time I checked, about 24 hours after posting, it had 500,000 views, had been covered by The Huffington Post, CBS, Gawker… all because last night, I thought, “ah, reddit might like that”.
A Professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.
So the Professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
The Professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “Yes.”
The Professor then produced two cans of beer from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.
“Now”, said the Professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.
The golf balls are the important things – your friends, your hobbies, your favourite passions, your family – things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.
The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your home. The sand is everything else – the small stuff, your possessions, material things.”
“If you put the sand into the jar first”, he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Go out and dance. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Go to the theatre.
There will always be time to clean the house, clean the car, mess around on the internet. Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”
When he had finished, there was a profound silence. Then one of the students raised her hand and with a puzzled expression, inquired what the beer represented.
The Professor smiled. “I’m glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of beers.”