Sep 152012
 

What’s up with this crazy wild viral popularity of PSY and Gangnam style? Are millions being entertained because they’re laughing at Psy or laughing withPsy? What’s struck the nerve?

First on YouTube, then appearances on mainstream media on the likes of Saturday Night Live (9/15), TODAY show (9/14), The Ellen Show (9/10), MTV Video Music Awards (9/6), has fanned the flame, and extended the bandwagon for other coat-tailing trend-followers. There’s a surge of color commentaries all over social media and traditional mainstream media speculating as to why:

My take: check the “all of the above” box. Yes, Gangnam style has become viral because it’s silly, fun, easy, satirical, edgy, novel & unexpected, unconventional, surprising, innovative. It’s also the confluence of traditional mainstream media and social media, and the economic engine driving the industries of music, entertainment, and news, all need the attention of masses of people, so popularity feeds popularity.

And I have to wonder how much truth is under the radar, too; just heard a podcast episode about media manipulation on Triangulation episode 67 with Leo Laporte and Ryan Holiday, author of Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator, a media strategist with keen insights about the manipulation of mass media. With both social media and traditional media being funded by advertisers that pay for eyeballs from the attention of readers & watchers of news & entertainment, they’ve got a vested interest to appeal to whatever might trigger the masses to click-through. To reach millions, what’s popular by default goes to the lowest-common-denominator, dumb-down, and keep the cookies on the bottom shelf, our basest instincts. (Or maybe I’m just overthinking this.) Even the best of fact-checkers may not be able to unveil the rumored secret conspiracy theory of covert operations that drove its popularity Gangnam style.
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