HomeAsk Deke: How do I make my group's video go viral?

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Q: My college group made a video that we're trying to get some attention for. Do you know anyone that's good at making aca YouTube videos go viral?
~ Adam

A: What’s interesting about your question is not the answer (there is of course no one who is able to make a video go viral), but rather the perspective that such a thing is possible.

When I was in college, I was hungry for information. I studied music theory voraciously in hopes of learning formulas that would help me write and arrange great music, I took many child development courses at Tufts in hopes of being a great father, and so on. It took years after graduation for me to fully realize and accept that the systems that work in school don’t apply in the real world, and no amount of knowledge guarantees a specific result outside campus walls.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m still a proud member of Ravenclaw, I read upwards of 80 books a year, and am always in search of new and better ways to do things. I am a steadfast believer in the scientific method, until some other process proves more effective in understanding the world. However, I also understand that I’m only able to increase one small coefficient in the enormous formula that dictates what happens in my life on this planet.

Your video may be good, may even be great, but there is no single way to ensure lots of people see it. Articles abound with suggestions as to how to make it go viral, and I suggest you read them, as you’ll likely get some good tips, and help increase viewership. Even more important is to continue making videos, releasing content, performing, and recording. You’re hoping to hit a home run, if you’ll allow the analogy, and to do so your best bet is to increase the number of “at bats.” Pentatonix built their own success, and whereas talent was of course an important part, their steadfast determination and indefatigability is what won the race, releasing videos and building a following. Peter Hollens is another example of a person who “made his own luck.” There is always luck involved, alongside talent, with hard work and knowledge playing important roles as well.

Best of luck to you and your group, as well as everyone else who is reading this. We as a community want the general public to continue to stumble upon and fall in love with new a cappella groups and songs every day, and to do so it takes you, all of you, stepping up to the plate and swinging for the rafters, time and time again.

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