April Fool’s Joke Highlights Craziness of Viral Articles

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eqm5N-aA3u0]

We’ve been long-time followers of Wong Fu Productions, a production company based in California creating awesome short videos, music videos, and other fun videos that have caught fire on YouTube.

Hooking Your Audience With The Headline

They recently released a video above as an April Fool’s joke, but the undercurrent of the video shows the extent in which viral content companies like Upworthy and Buzzfeed have written the headlines for their articles. Having watched these Wong Fu Productions videos before, and then seeing the new April Fools titles like “This Might Be The Only Video You’ll Ever Have To Watch to Quit Smoking” or “The Most Romantic, Heartbreaking Thing You’ll Ever Watch.What Happense Next Is Unbelievable” show that you can turn a pretty innocuous fun video into something much more emotional all based on the headline.

We found that reading the headline actually does impact your experience with watching the video. Even if the subject matter of the content may be boring or pedantic to begin with, the headline instills this feeling in the back of your mind that this video or story MUST be super interesting in some form or another. If these supercharged emotional headlines somewhat distorts the viewer’s experience to believe that the content is actually really interesting, is that necessarily a bad thing? Perhaps this is the way to make traditional news stories about the economy, politics, and international trade be interesting over baby seals on top of international photographers?