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Send in the Cavalry - 5923
Content and ideas spread like a virus but they are enforced by the cavalry.
I’m not entirely positive that everything can be linked together, but it is a hypothesis I am willing to test. Let’s jump in …
The Daily Rabbit Hole: How they shot The Ride of the Rohirrim
“Ride now, ride now! Ride for ruin, and the world’s ending…DEEEEEEATH!”
If you were asked to identify “the most viral video of all time” you likely will struggle to determine a winner in the category. Was it Charlie Bit My Finger? Numa Numa? David After Dentist? The corn kid? Or any of the musical variations created by The Gregory Brothers (The “MSM” behind viral content if there were such a thing)?
My answer will come as a surprise at first, cause you to groan, sigh and say “yuuuup” second, and ultimately find a way to disagree third. However, we’re not here to debate what is the most viral video of all time, we’re here to talk about it …
Kony 2012 exploded across the Internet in less than a week. With 100 million views across platforms in six days, if you were on the Internet at all in March 2012 you knew about it. On its peak day, 35 million people watched. To put that in perspective, more people watched it in one day than watched Joe Biden’s State of the Union address in 2022.
Speaking of videos - go give this one from a familiar face a like on TikTok:
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The ‘Wait, What?’ Vortex: The 61st Cavalry of India
“The regiment has a strong polo tradition, producing some of India's best polo players.”
The Internet Is an Army …
We tend to think of the sudden rise of memes, quips, new products launched on the Internet, and more as “viral.” While the description is apt for how quickly something spreads, it falls short of what the Internet truly is: a military.
The co-founder of Invisible Children, Jason Russell, discovered this immediately upon their release of Kony 2012 on March 5th, 2012. You might recall that this is the same Jason Russell who by the end of the week was naked, flipping people off, and laying in front of cars in the street.
Russell suffered from a psychotic break, though pretty much everyone thought (and likely still - if they remember this era of the Internet - believes) it was a drug or alcohol fueled incident. I’d contend that his side of the story is probably accurate. You could question it, but no matter what fueled the breakdown, the fire starter was going from obscurity to internationally famous in 6 days. This spurred a second viral video in a remarkably short timespan of Russell freaking out in public, causing the Internet to swarm yet again.
Content and ideas spread like a virus but they are enforced by the cavalry. The backlash to Kony 2012 was swift, questionable at times, probably correct in spirit - but that isn’t how an army works. It kills. This is why the organization Invisible Children was forced into obscurity, and Joseph Kony lives free to this day.
The Internet’s cavalry will destroy a target, but the mounting discourse makes it hard to find the correct one.
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