YouTube Video Hits 12 Million Views in 5 Days

April 16, 2009 by lindac

This YouTube video has gone viral. Over 12 million views (61,000+ comments) in 5 days. The big lesson is clear and obvious. But, there’s a hidden message. Can you see it?

youtubehit

25 Comments »

  1. Nikki said :
    April 16, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    Hi Linda,

    I’ll have to wait till I get home to listen to it - can only watch in silence at work which kind of defeats the object!

    Nikki

  2. Gary Simpson said :
    April 16, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    Linda,

    Thanks for alerting me to that. I hadn’t seen it even though over 12 million other people had.

    The message to me - never judge a book by its cover - even though we almost invariably do 99.9% of the time.

    Here is a woman with EXTREME talent who had been harbouring it for almost her entire life.

    Gary

  3. Debbie Foster said :
    April 16, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    Hi Linda,

    Well, I didn’t “see” a hidden message, but I sure felt a few. The first one that popped into my head was “never judge a book by its’ cover”. Then I thought “never give up on your dreams” and “it’s never too late to make your dreams come true”.

    This is one of those WOW moments that are unexpected, which is what I think makes it viral.

    Debbie

  4. Paull Hamilton said :
    April 16, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    Hi Linda,

    Quite amazing ! I showed this same video to my Mum yesterday and she broke down in tears, I must admit I had a half a brick stuck in my throat as well =O)

    As Gary pointed out the most obvious message is that we all to often let our first impressions of people cloud our judgment, a stupid thing to do but, most of us are guilty of this to some degree.

    Paull

  5. lindac said :
    April 16, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    I heard that Demi Moore cried when she saw it and then sent it out on Twitter. The “never judge a book by it’s cover” one is so obvious, isn’t it? If you watch the audience, the look of shock on all the faces, and then the spontaneous standing ovation that swept the room like a wave of delight.

    But you’re spot on, Deb. It’s never too late to make a dream come true. Dreams aren’t just for young people.

  6. Adam said :
    April 16, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    I was just speaking with a friend who told me about this video yesterday, but I hadn’t seen it yet.

    Perfect song choice too that matches the entire message of the video - she lived her dream.

    Adam

  7. Theresa Mayhew said :
    April 16, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    Hi Linda,
    Thanks for writing about this. This is another example like Paul Potts a few years back. It is never too late to realize your purpose and mission in life and to share it with the world.

    When we are inspired by something so universal and share it on the internet, there’s no stopping the viral effect. Amazing . . . over 12 million views in 5 days!

    :)Theresa

  8. Hilary Dickinson said :
    April 16, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    Hi Linda

    I watched this when the programme went out on Saturday and I have to admit that I was sceptical before she began to sing. It might have had something to do with the fact that they often show people ‘having a go’, but so often making you cringe, that we do become rather cynical.

    I actually think that it was incredibly clever of the programme producers to show it in this fashion,as whether we approve or not, it has really got people talking about not only Susan, but also the programme has had a huge amount of publicity too.
    see http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/7999765.stm

    She also now has a listing in Wikipedia and a fan website set up!

    I think that there are so many things we can learn from this - not only never judge a book by its cover but also about dedication, hard work, not giving up, making the most of our talents etc. And of course in Britain we are great lovers of the underdog!

    I am the same age as Susan(!) and I can really empathise with her - albeit in a different environment. Simon Cowell even called her a ‘little tiger’ - yeah Gary we tigers come in all shapes and sizes and when you least expect it. (Thanks for giving us that analogy some time ago by the way - it added to my appreciation of the whole thing.)

    So thanks for sharing this with others who had not seen it before. It deserves to be shown as an inspiration to us all. She is now the favourite to win the competition - I wonder what type of a makeover they will want to give her though? More power to her!

    Hilary

  9. Susan said :
    April 16, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    Well, I knew going in that it was going to be something extraordinary - just because it was on YouTube and had so many hits! So when she opened her mouth and beauty fell out, that wasn’t such a surprise. My cynicism came in the form of wanting to know more how the person who posted this got so many viewers in such a short time. 12 million + is the population of a couple of (small) countries!

    But my thoughts on “how” were quickly overcome by “wow” as the video went along. I cried the first time through. Then I watched it again - and cried the second time through. I sit here STILL having no idea how to make a video go viral, but that’s probably not the lesson I most needed to take away from this. Susan got her big chance at last, and she made the most of it, bless her! Maybe if “Susan’s” in general are about to become a hot item, I’m well positioned….

    Problem is, not judging a book by its cover isn’t practiced often enough, and certainly not when it comes to websites. If we aren’t ready for “company” when they show up at our doorstep, they’ll spin on their virtual heels and head back where they came from, without giving us a chance to show them what we’re made of. We’ll never have the captive audience that Susan Boyle had - we can only hope to captivate them right from the start if we want them to appreciate our worth.

    And first, of course, we have to get their attention….

  10. Theresa Mayhew said :
    April 16, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    Well said, Susan. I’m a big fan of your’s . . . for what it’s worth:)
    Theresa

  11. Cheri Merz said :
    April 16, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    In the spirit of ‘never give up’, this will be my third attempt to make this comment. Maybe my computer is telling me to be more concise, lol.

    I feel vindicated…Linda and Gary will know why. What an amazing validation of the concept that it’s never too late.

    I watched a different version of this clip just this morning, sent by a friend who invariably finds wonderful stuff on the internet. Thanks for making me think more deeply about it. It also gave me an excuse to watch it about six times. OK, I like to cry, so what?

    Here’s what I noticed. First, things about Susan herself. She let herself be vulnerable, and was entirely herself. That earned her ridicule at first, but when the first beautiful notes rang out, the tide turned instantly. Then, when she started to leave the stage after singing, I believe she felt that she had arrived at that mythical destination called success. She wanted to sing in front of a large audience-check. She wanted to ‘rock it’-check. Mission accomplished. I assume she is now realizing that the journey isn’t over, and the next step may be bigger than she ever imagined. Or maybe not.

    I don’t know what makes a video (or anything else) go viral either, but I suspect in this case that it has to do with the almost-universal love of human beings for this type of story. Little Sampson slays huge Goliath and becomes hero. Rags to riches. Ugly duckling becomes beautiful swan.

    I think it’s because many of us secretly harbor the fear that we are too ordinary to be noticed, coupled with the desire to contribute value to justify our existence. Stories like this give us hope that if we find something of value within ourselves, have the courage to put it out for the world to see, and develop the belief in ourselves that Susan exhibited when she said she’d rock that audience, maybe we too can become [insert whatever your heart desires].

    I know from past experience that you, Linda, will have some amazing insight to offer after the rest of us have had our say. I can’t wait to read it!

    Cheri

  12. Susan said :
    April 16, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    Well said, Cheri!

    I finally had to stop watching the damn thing. I was getting dehydrated.

    Susan

  13. Susan said :
    April 16, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    Oh, and Theresa - your ‘fandom’ is worth more than you can imagine! So I don’t ever get noticed by the world. I can die happy knowing I earned one groupie, at least.

    Back atcha, hon.
    s

  14. Denis said :
    April 16, 2009 at 10:32 pm

    Hi Linda:

    Even this video elicited a tear from the ever present skeptical cynic inside of me. I too was swept up into the whole wonderful “Cinderella” aspect of the tale. I’m a sap for a good story, like anyone else. As my wife says, “You go, Girl”! But (ah, there’s always a but)…then the other side took over-

    The editor to my writer-
    The producer to my musician-
    The salesman to my glassworks-
    The technician to my movie going experience-

    This was a slickly packaged piece of video. It was edited like a movie to take the viewer on an obvious planned roller coaster journey through the emotions. And it worked to a tee! We laughed alongside those who mocked. We stared and listened in utter disbelief and then rose to our feet triumphantly and wept with those that were overcome with emotion. We got played like a Stradivarius, but no one minded, for society needs these kinds of stories to remind us of our humanity.

    How differently one is treated when society’s perception of one changes-Susan didn’t change. She was the same person walking off that stage as who first stepped on. It was society’s perception of her that changed, for suddenly she was seen as having a perceived value by possessing something that we all understand and value-an exceptional singing voice. She could have won teacher, nurse, or librarian of the year, but she would still have been the same “frumpy weird lady” lady living with her cat. But now that she can sing, everyone looks past her demeanor, and wants to know more about her.

    In the USA, we (as a society) are so enamored with celebrities that it consumes our lives. Any celebrity, whether they’re a movie star, sports figure, or musician, is treated like royalty. They can be a horrid role model, a terrible personal mess (as many are), a criminal or drug addict, but we look past all that, for they fill a void in our own lives, and we can live out our fantasy life vicariously through the lives of these stars. Our appetite to know every little detail is insatiable. So many of these “elite” would be completely nothings, if it wasn’t for their single talent in their field or even just a lucky break. (I’d better quit now, for I feel a shifting up to third gear)… Anyway, that’s why it’s so heartwarming to hear of an “ordinary” person becoming a worldwide phenomenon.

    She will be appearing on Oprah soon. She’s the next media darling for they just love these kinds of stories. Can we say ratings through the roof, baby! I saw the video on MSNBC.

    The power of viral video marketing coupled with a named star (Demi Moore) and (darest I say) twitter. The sky’s the limit…

    Wishing you and your father all my best and sending you, all the good Karma that I can muster.

    Denis

  15. Gary Simpson said :
    April 16, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    Great comments from everyone.

    Paul said:

    “Quite amazing ! I showed this same video to my Mum yesterday and she broke down in tears, I must admit I had a half a brick stuck in my throat as well =O)”

    Um, I gotta admit that when, as Susan said:

    “…So when she opened her mouth and beauty fell out…”

    I felt the same way as Paul. I think many, many people did. It is “soul food.”

    I watched the entire video 3 times - I guess a LOT of people have - thereby contributing to the high hit count. Just on that…

    … if you check You Tube, this version of the video is only ONE of many. Sure it has the highest hit count but there are many others now with millions as well. So, perhaps the number is more like 20 million. Comparatively, that would mean that the entire poplulation of Australia has watched this incredible woman. (I am reminded of that video of Phyllis Nelson here - not much in the “looks” department but the voice of an angel). And it is the voice that we pay attention to.

    And, Cheri (hi darls!)I recognised the “never give up - never too late” comment immediately. Your words rang very true and I smiled upon reading them.

    Lesson - there is hope for everybody, so long as everybody puts their talent out there. One decent break is all you need - it’s just getting the planets to line up for you that is the difficult bit. Those planets being: talent, opportunity and the right time.

    Thanks again Linda. I’m interested to see your take on this.

    Gary

    PS: This also reminds me of my Power of Choice story in a roundabout way. I have shared that with several nice people on Twitter and the reaction is always the same.

  16. Denis Caron said :
    April 16, 2009 at 11:43 pm

    Hi Linda:

    My last comment is in Moderation Pergatory and I don’t know why-no smiley faces, no links…perhaps too verbose?

    Denis

  17. Gary Simpson said :
    April 17, 2009 at 12:18 am

    Ha! Denis!

    I read your entire post in my email subscription of Linda’s blog. I agree with all you said. I was thinking much along the same lines myself though I kept my comments on the “other side of the track,” so to speak.

    Wait till Brittney or Pammy decide to get out of a vehicle sans undies and Susan Boyle will be relegated to a secondary status, briefly (yes pun intended).

    Your comments and observations are spot on!

    Gary

  18. Denis Caron said :
    April 17, 2009 at 12:27 am

    Hmmmmm….

    Is this Linda’s new traffic generation technique/lesson of how to use the power of breaking news stories to our advantage on our blogs?

    sly, very sly…

    Denis

  19. Gary Simpson said :
    April 17, 2009 at 12:48 am

    Stallone.

  20. Denis Caron said :
    April 17, 2009 at 1:17 am

    Well Mr. Simpson:

    I was not ignoring you, it seems that I’ve been missing all of your wrapping comments around mine, for I was not refreshing, just adding a comment now and then. You know what they say about great minds…

    Wow, how authoritative. Between your avitar and your one word response-very Rambo like. How about a trailing headband on your photo?

  21. Gary Simpson said :
    April 17, 2009 at 1:27 am

    D-Man,

    What is this Mr Simpson BS?

    “You know what they say about great minds…”

    Indeed I do. If we are all thinking the same then… some of us are not thinking at all. LOL!

    You have great wit Denis. I ALWAYS enjoy your take on things and you usually make me laugh, otherwise it is just a wry smile.

    How are things over at the Portal? Hmm, I should have mentioned that “BRAND” on my new post on the lessons we can learn from the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) about branding. Next time I go to reply to somebody I may just slip it in next to my reference to the PMW. [Hmm, considering re-wording, re-phrasing, re-everythinging that but no time - it just has to do as is.]

    See you around the traps Portal-one.

    TGM

  22. Gary Simpson said :
    April 17, 2009 at 1:35 am

    Um, just noticed this…

    Look at the time line. There are now 15,625,851 views.

    Gary

  23. Denis Caron said :
    April 17, 2009 at 2:11 am

    Okay Gary:

    I always enjoy word fencing with you, but I must say that with your last “great minds” comment-TOUCHE! ouch, you win…

    Thanks for the “Portal Shout Out”, although with all the irons in the fire, my blog iron isn’t close enough to even get warm. More power to you, day in day out. I am up to “M” in my marketing glossary though. That’s a task I didn’t want to outsource.Soon. All I can say is soon.

    One must be the cocoon before one can become the butterfly…

    Are we hijacking Linda’s blog? I just happen to be online and around the computer tonight…

    Denis

  24. lindac said :
    April 19, 2009 at 6:06 am

    As I type this, the Susan Boyle video is pushing towards 30 MILLION views. Most videos will never get even 1% of that. There are so many great observations here.

    • Susan said:
      My cynicism came in the form of wanting to know more how the person who posted this got so many viewers in such a short time… But my thoughts on “how” were quickly overcome by “wow” as the video went along… I sit here STILL having no idea how to make a video go viral…”

    • Cheri said:
      I think it’s because many of us secretly harbor the fear that we are too ordinary to be noticed, coupled with the desire to contribute value to justify our existence. Stories like this give us hope that if we find something of value within ourselves, have the courage to put it out for the world to see, and develop the belief in ourselves that Susan exhibited when she said she’d rock that audience, maybe we too can become [insert whatever your heart desires]

      And finally…

    • Denis said:
      This was a slickly packaged piece of video. It was edited like a movie to take the viewer on an obvious planned roller coaster journey through the emotions. And it worked to a tee! We laughed alongside those who mocked. We stared and listened in utter disbelief and then rose to our feet triumphantly and wept with those that were overcome with emotion. We got played like a Stradivarius, but no one minded…

    Cheri, what beautiful writing, and so poignantly true. Most of us spend far too much time measuring ourselves against others while our dreams are simultaneously stifled yet aching to become reality. Then, if we do find the bravery to put ourselves out there, too often we chase the competition instead of the dream and we lose ourself in the process.

    I believe that, at heart, we are all deeply conversational creatures. We love a good story.

    I believe that, at heart, most of us can relate to the ugly duckling and the underdog and the small man staring up at his giant and whispering that he’ll win or die trying. We can relate.

    Susan Boyle gave us both of those. It was a story well told. As Denis said, we were played like a Stradivarius and we didn’t mind a bit. Why? Because of the outcome.

    She stood there, facing down the giants of laughter and ridicule, and won her own battle while we watched. She wasn’t playing us, and that’s the important part.

    No one could watch without being moved. And that is precisely how she got all those views.

    Susan, did you realize you answered your own question? “my thoughts on “how” were quickly overcome by “wow” — that’s the answer right there. She wowed us.

    Too many people, especially in marketing, build us up only to let us down. The delivery fails to meet the expectation. Isn’t there too much of that out there? All those people who talk themselves up and then fail to deliver. Too many products and people that promise more than they deliver. Susan Boyle did the opposite and in doing so, she touched our hearts.

    We are deeply emotional beings. When you touch our hearts, our head will follow.
    Never the other way around.

  25. Blog Design - Visual Appeal Helps Retain Traffic | said :
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