Before the computer age, viral was a term used to describe an infection caused by a virus. It was considered a scientific and medical term. Using the same principle of quick and widespread reach, people now refer to videos that are rapidly disseminated and spread via electronic communications as viral.
For 2012, the viral video titled Dumb Ways to Die with more than 28.5 million likes could be considered Australia's top viral video.
Here is the three-minute, three-second video which has spawned several parodies in YouTube:
The video is actually a safety reminder for Metro train riders. It uses comical bean-like characters and samples several ways to die considered as stupid, based on the lyrics of the song. Aussies who had viewed the video laugh rather than be frightened by the gory theme in which the characters, throughout every chorus, demonstrate dying in various ways via song and dance, but to drive home the message also shows the aftermath of their deaths.
Makers of viral videos such as Dumb Way to Die have YouTube and other similar tube sites in the Internet to thank for giving them a free site to express their feelings, concerns and talents.
In fact, viral videos have led to the discovery of singers initially called YouTube sensations but are now top-rated international singers with millions of fans such as Canadian teen star Justin Bieber and Filipina chanteuse Charice Pempengco.
It is not just performances that become viral on cyberspace. Here is a sampling of three other viral videos trending today.
In Manila, Philippines, an amateur video showing an irate commuter yelling at a lady guard in a train station became viral in the early part of November. The woman, a 24-year-old student of La Consolacion College identified as Paula Salvosa, berated the guard for calling her attention due to her failure to follow standard security searches.
She went ballistic after she failed to put her bag on the conveyor of the X-ray machine and got angry at the guard whom she accused of calling her a liar, hence the tag Amalayer which is a play on the words "I am a liar?"
The Amalayer video has more 3.1 million views and has spawned parodies.
While the viral video has given Ms Salvosa her 15 minutes of fame, she was recently spotted by a motorist waiting for a jeepney ride, indicating that she has eschewed riding the metro rail since the embarrassing incident.
It is a K-pop single by the South Korean music artist PSY. In YouTube, Gangnam Style has registered more than 847 million views, surpassing Justin Bieber's Baby which has more than 806 million views.
The K-Pop single debuted number 1 at the Gaon Charts, the national record chart in South Korea and peaked number 2 in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. With its popularity, the catchy song and dance was featured in live performance at various locations and shows such as Madison Square Garden, The Today Show, The Ellen Degeneres Show and Samsung commercials.
Gangnam Style made cultural impact worldwide including students reenacting the elevator scene at the University of Bradford's atrium, a resident from a shelter for disabled person dancing Gangnam Style during a U.S. Navy community service in Geojedo, South Korea, and became trending topic as well in other social media sites like Twitter.
The hit K-pop song is available for digital download in iTunes.
Supersonic Space Jump
On October 2012, a phenomenal jump from the sky broke records in YouTube, and since then had logged more than 30 million views.
The jump, sponsored by energy drink Red Bull, featured Felix Baumgartner, an Austrian skydiver, daredevil and BASE jumper who had set a world record for skydiving 39km with an estimated speed of 1,342 kph or Mach 1.24, making him the first person to break the sound barrier on his descent without vehicular power.
He used a space capsule as the transport up to the sky. The jump was part of his work with Red Bull Stratos, a space diving project.
Viral videos have made careers and celebrities out of nobodies, but going by a virus's nature, the infection eventually dies and is forgotten until another one hits a population. And so it is with the cyberworld; today's viral video becomes a world record but is soon replaced by another video footage in just a matter of days.