Dear Anna: Tips For Viral Video Fame

Rebecca Black/YouTube video still

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.


If that punk Rebecca Black can get rich by making a crappy song and video, I wanna do it too! How can I make viral videos that win me financial and celebrity acclaim?

~Rebecca CRACK

If I knew the answer to that, do you really think I’d be telling you how to become a millionaire while I sit here in my Target pajamas, drinking Charles Shaw out of a measuring cup?

For the three of you who haven’t been on the Internet for the past few weeks, or have simply had better things to do with your time, eff you. I mean, this is what happened with Rebecca Black. She’s a 13-year-old whose rich parents gave $2,000 to Ark Music Factory to write two terrible songs and make a video out of the one whose lyrics included the order of the days of the week, and breakfast. Black “sang” it, and Ark made said video into an auto-tuned monstrosity, with kids in braces pretending to drive convertibles and such. The scathing reaction to the song made the video go viral. (As of this week, it’s been viewed almost 65 million times). Musician Mike Bauer impersonated Bob Dylan in a hilarious cover of it, which is totally worth watching just to hear him sing, “Gotta have cereal.” And bam! Insta-fame.

According to Slate, Black has probably made about $40,000 from the song, and assuming she doesn’t use most of it on therapy from the hatefest she inspired, that’s a decent sum for a 13-year-old. While there’s no magical key for making lots of money that you don’t deserve, here are a few suggestions for you to try on your way to Internet infamy, based on YouTube’s most-viewed videos of all time.

Read the rest of my social media column at SF Weekly.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.