The Dangers of a Viral Video

June 04, 2014

I LOVE uplifting videos. Seriously, I can and have spent hours on watching every video possible that all evoke a wide range of emotions. The tiger, lion and bear trio that have become best friends or the cat who saved a little boy from a dog attack, there are so many viral videos that come and go and I’ve probably watched them all.

However, I realized something today. I need to end this increasing addiction.

Even though all these amazing, viral videos uplift us and show us there is hope for our human race, I believe we are increasingly becoming numb to the very idea.

Before Youtube and the internet, a person would witness just a handful of these amazing events firsthand. They would have a personal account of seeing someone’s life saved, an adorable baby having a giggle fit or a magician performing the impossible. The most significant events such as a life saved or a hard lesson learned would stick with that person for the rest of their life. They would tell their own account to family and friends and would even pass the story onto their children. Although the social aspect of storytelling is extremely important and a rarity these days, more importantly would be the memory that was made. The life lasting impact of witnessing such unique events would help mold and shape that person’s life and those around them. They would return to those memories in moments of need and retrieve invaluable emotions and ideas unique to only them.

Unfortunately now the ability to witness an event of any importance is simply a click away. These videos are a dime a dozen and come and go over night. While we may cry, laugh or become passionate about a video we watched today I can guarantee you a month or even a week from today you won’t even remember it.  I am sure there is the rare exception where a video may change your life and propel you to become a better person, however, because you lack the tangible experience it too will eventually fade.

At the end of the day, I am afraid the ever growing mass of viral videos, that ply at our emotions, are actually creating an even bigger problem. It is adjusting the way we react to what should be powerful, personal and rare moments by causing us to view it as every day occurrences. These emotional moments become just another click of the day and a quick social share that undermines the true, in the moment experience.

I am not trying to convince you that positive videos that spread awareness or evoke emotions are terrible things, but quite the opposite. It is because I have so much respect for these amazing stories told of cancer beaten and trials overcome that I want us to truly value them. If we continue to just click away we will slowly numb ourselves to the priceless lessons and stories being told. We might even forget how to cherish these rare moments when they happen in our own lives. We will find ourselves whipping out our cameras or phones to film in hopes of a viral video or at the very least a video to share among friends, rather than personally experiencing it and feeling those raw emotions begging to be valued.

Be careful of becoming addicted to those five seconds of raw emotion you will experience via these viral videos. Yes, it is nice to feel and witness these beautiful stories but be wary of the cost.

At the end of the day, if I am to be honest with myself (and you) I know I won’t stop watching those viral, uplifting videos. I love them. They make me feel hope for our race and it’s future, it reminds me that everyone has a story to be told and helps me feel connected to the world around.

That being said, starting today I will drastically minimize the amount I watch so I can truly value the ones I do view and cherish the stories being told. Those priceless moments deserve the utmost respect and shouldn’t be treated as a dime a dozen as I have been guilty of doing.

*** The videos I am referring to are NOT the typical prank wars, funny animals or laughing baby videos, but rather the very personal and uplifting videos that portray life changing events and lessons learned. ***

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  1. I do agree, you don't want them to become numb to these feelings, and find out some day something amazing happens to you or your loved one and then you feel nothing about it, or you just say meh I saw something like that on youtube. However the media is so twisted and all you get in the news is so many pad things and times you tend to loose hope in humanity, that when you watch one of these videos hope seems to somewhat sparkle within you again, it may not be an OH WOW we can do anything moment, but it at least makes you feel not all is lost. We do need them in order to keep our heads above water when we are drowning in such horrible things, but we also need to maintain a balance and not become complacent or consider that the world will fix it self because there are so many awesome things happening around us too, or so it seems because you watch one video after another, and yet these videos could just be events of years apart and you consider them an everyday occurrence.