Best Viral Videos of 2011: Pageviews and Reach
2011's Top Viral Videos
As 2011 draws to a close, it's time to revisit the best viral videos of 2011. These should be determined not only by overall pageviews, but also by how deeply they affected overall internet culture.
You can find each viral video via its link, as well as a selection of clips in the video player below. Under protest, I must declare Rebecca Black's egregious "Friday" video to be the most influential viral video of the year in terms of both traffic and web-culture impact.
In terms of YouTube traffic, these are the top 10 viral videos of 2011:
- Rebecca Black's Friday Video (which in turn launched dozens of parodies and mashups- this one became a mega-meme. Deleted after its popularity peaked, the new version still has over 12 million views. Overall, "Friday" was watched over 100 million times.)
- Ultimate Dog Tease ("You know what the meat drawer is, right?" "Yes.")
- Michael Bolton: "Jack Sparrow" (Lonely Island thematically dissonant and oddly singable collaboration with Michael Bolton.)
- Talking Twin Babies (infant twin language was Esperanto for "cute".)
- Nyan Cat (cosmic Pop-Tart cat: you loved it or totally f*cking hated it.)
- Karmin: "Look At Me Now" (Cover of Breezy/Weezy/Busta Rhymes track.)
- Lonely Island: "The Creep" (Those I'm-on-a-Boat guys are back, this time with Nicki Minaj and the inimitable John Waters, who only needs two lines to out-creep everyone else in the video.)
- Maria Aragon: "Born This Way" (Another Lady Gaga cover leads to viral fame.)
- The Force (viral Volkswagen ad could be the furthest-reaching Super Bowl ad ever.)
- Cat Mom Hugs Baby Kitten (the web is dominated by cats, but this was the cutest thing ever, at least for 2011. Surprising that a cat video isn't higher on the list.)
Viral Videos 2011: beyond the Numbers
Of course, some of the most memorable viral videos are not the ones with the highest numbers. We're thinking of videos such as:
- Ted Williams (Homeless man with golden radio voice.)
- Honey Badger Video ("Crazy Nastyass Honey Badger" is the funniest of Randall's animal videos.)
- My Drunk Kitchen (Hannah Hart's hilarious cooking series.)
- JW Griffiths: Splitscreen: A Love Story (Nokia N8 shot film competition winner.)
- Thom Yorke Dancing (remixing the "Lotus Flower" video to hilarious effect. The Radiohead frontman was made to dance to "Single Ladies", "Can't Touch This", Mambo No. 5", and perhaps too many more.)
- Hillary Adams Video (Judge William Adams,who presided over child abuse cases, caught on video as he beat his disabled daughter.)
- Mountain Biker vs Antelope (Evan Van Der Spuy's pain was our gain.)
- Pepper Spray Cop (UC Davis Lt. John Pike became a web celeb for all the wrong reasons.)
Maru: Recognizing a Legend
Emeritus status is hereby given to Maru. He is truly King of All Cat Videos.
But wait! There's more! Behold, Gizmodo's compilation of viral video clips that simultaneously qualify for best and worst of the year. We're thrilled that they liked the Greek videobomber making cat noises and the NYC subway shoe-licker as much as we did.