Thursday, December 27, 2012

Early Viral Videos and Internet Memes

This morning NPR had a story about social media memes and viral videos in 2012. One of the themes of the story is how memes and viral videos have such a short shelf life, Gangnam Style excluded (anyone remember Kony 2012?)

For some reason I thought back to the early days of the world wide web (not to be confused with the early days of the internet...the internet dates back much farther) and what was one of the first viral videos: The Dancing Baby. The Dancing Baby was first released in 1996. There was no Youtube (really) back then and those of us that had internet access at home were rocking dial up (and not even 56k modems as they didn't come out until '98). I honestly can't remember the format I first used to see it but it was probably either Quicktime or RealPlayer. I am not sure when I first downloaded it, but it had to be fairly soon after it was released. I base this on the fact that the Dancing Baby was used on the television show Ally McBeal and when I saw that episode, I thought wow, that's an old reference. Looking at the Dancing Baby Wikipedia page, I see that episode aired on January 5th, 1998 so I had to have downloaded it quite a while before that.

And of course I started wondering how many people remember the dancing baby. I am sure there are people my age that weren't on the internet that might only know it from television. Then there are younger people who would never have seen it at all and laugh at how crude it is. Obviously, this viral video spread much more slowly and had a much longer shelf life than modern videos just given how few people were able to see it.

Just in case you have no idea what I am talking about, here is the original Dancing Baby (now on youtube).

So what do you remember about the Dancing Baby (if anything)?


SER said...

That was a good one

OKIE said...

I remember the baby on Ally McBeal. It was great.

legal stranger said...

First time I saw this video was today. Incredible the amount of videos now on u-tube.

OrbsCorbs said...

I remember dancing baby. I don't know why, but I do.

OrbsCorbs said...

Btw, dancing baby dances better than me.

kkdither said...

I remember it. I remember thinking it was very creepy. Things come at us so fast now that something new and viral is soon replaced by the next "gotta see."