Digital Journal compiles the most buzzworthy and highly trafficked viral videos that spread across social media in 2011. Catch up any bizarre music videos, political ads, news bloopers and Web culture moments you might have missed.
Videos go viral for no real quantifiable reason, but they have a cache allowing them to rocket across the Web faster than a nyan cat (yes, that's a viral vid). Viral videos are now a staple at water-cooler conversations, retweets and hey-did-you-see-this? emails, so check out 2011's greatest viral vids, as selected by Digital Journal.
We've embedded the videos below, in no particular order:
Rebecca Black's Friday
Then 13, this young girl wanted to be a star, so a music video company made this horrendously cheesy music video that soon became the butt of too many jokes. At the time of this writing, Rachel Black's Friday YouTube video had more than 11 million views and inspired Black to star in a sequel.
Sophia Grace Brownlee performs Nicki Minaj' Super Bass
This deadly cute eight-year-old British girl won worldwide acclaim for her spot-on performance of Minaj's top hit Super Bass. Sure, she mumbles through some of the verses but she belts out the chorus like a pro. Brownlee went on to rock the song on Ellen and also later recorded vids of other Minaj tunes, such as Moment 4 Life.
Lonely Island's Jack Sparrow, with Michael Bolton
Saturday Night Live's Lonely Island guys are no stranger to the viral video phenomenon, and this year they gave us another star-studden vid, thanks to singer Michael Bolton. It seems like it'll be a ho-hum club track, but then Bolton interrupts with lines about his favourite films.
Webcam 101 for Seniors
You had us at Webcam 101. This hilarious video shows Bruce and Esther Huffman trying to use their new webcam, and little did they know their entire ordeal was being recorded. Nothing like showing genuine affection and little quips to make a three-minute vid go viral.
Anderson Cooper's laughing fit
CNN anchor Anderson Cooper devolved into giggles after he joked about a urinary Gerard Depardieu incident. The four-minute slip is full of pee puns and eventually Cooper couldn't help himself and by 1:57 the giggles began and soon later his laughter became so intense he couldn't continue. Oh, anchors being human, how you entertain us.
Nyan nyan cat
We have no clue why this strange vid of a Pop Tart cat zipping across the space spewing nonsense accumulated 52 million views since it was uploaded in April. This online sensation spawned T-shirts and other merch, while also becoming a meme that is only now fading to make way for other bizarre animations.
Canadian football legends fight
Joe Kapp and Angelo Mosca may be known in Canadian football circles as all-stars, but to Web surfers, they're the subject of a shocking vid showing them duke it out at an alumni luncheon. Their mini brawl suddenly made Canadian football more popular than it ever became online, but there was no pigskin in sight.
Woman falls into fountain while texting
Mishaps and injuries continue to be a traffic driver for online vids, and this 2-minuter of an inattentive woman falling into a mall fountain while texting went viral across the world. Maybe that's why Apple invented Siri, so cellphone junkies can text relatively hands-free and avoid embarrassing slips into public fountains.
My Tram Experience aka a British mother's racially abusive rant
It can be hard to watch, due to the racist language, and perhaps due to its controversial nature, the video known as My Tram Experience racked up comments assailing the woman for being so idiotically ignorant, especially with her child on her lap. As expected, if you search for "My Tramp Experience" on YouTube you'll be met with countless video responses and criticisms.
Yosemite bears wrestling
As off-camera campers marvel at the sight before them, two small bear cubs wrestle in the middle of the road, understandably stopping traffic near Yosemite Park. The YouTube commenters couldn't help but gush with statements such as "Sooo adorable" and "please come to my car!"
Zach Wahls speaks about family
Raised by two women, Ohio resident Zach Wahls, 19, addressed the Iowa legislature this week in defense of same-sex marriage, and almost instantly his video went viral (mainly among left-wing social media mavens, as expected). The Des Moines Register remarked, "Wahls passionate plea to lawmakers to reject a resolution that would prohibit same-sex marriage is turning the Iowa teenager into an Internet sensation..."
Rick Perry's Strong ad
"I'm not ashamed to be a Christian," begins a political ad from GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry, and within a week it accumulated 6.4 million views. But the response wasn't positive to his anti-gay marriage spot; on YouTube, it attracted 674,000 dislike votes and only 21, 620 like votes. Not the kind of response Perry must've wanted.
OK Go + Pilobolus' All Is Not Lost
Those music video geniuses OK Go (also a fantastic band) continue their streak of producing creative share-worthy videos with All Is Not Lost. If you like dance, this one's for you. The guys wear a simple light blue bodysuit and contort their bodies every which way to the tune, making a mesmerizing video featuring feet soles and flexible legs (you have to see it to understand it). Let's hope OK Go makes another fun vid in 2012.
Best action scene ever
From the Tamil movie Endhiran, this nine-minute action scene is almost breathless in its dedication to non-stop robotic violence. Who needs to watch the rest of the film when you got this CGI-heavy scene you'll want to email to movie buffs in your contacts list? For some reason, this clip is overlaid with Russian translation so it's pretty difficult to figure out what is happening exactly. As if that matters.
Intel's The Chase
Social media is gradually becoming more prevalent in our lives, and Intel harnessed our love of all things Twitter, Facebook and Flickr with a very cool video of a chase scene showing a woman jumping from site to site. Intel claims "the spot demonstrates the performance capabilities of the new processors" but we think the vid demonstrates the funky creativity behind smart video editing, Photoshopping and filmmaking.
What was your favourite viral video of 2011?