It’s Time: A Viral Case Study

You’ve all seen it! It flooded your news feeds, and may even have roused you to post/retweet it yourself. No, I’m not talking about Rebecca Black’s awkwardly contagious video production. I’m talking, of course, of the “It’s Time” video that first emerged on YouTube last Thanksgiving.

Take a moment to wipe the tears from your eyes…

Now, let’s discuss.

The It’s Time video began to flood my Facebook news feed when I was on vacation in Miami–roaming the streets of South Beach. Curious, but only with my iPhone at my disposal, I tucked myself into the shade of one of the street corners and plugged in my ear-buds to see what everyone was ‘Liking’. Exactly 1 minute and 17 seconds later, my stomach lurched. By the end of the 2 minute video, my heart felt like it been replaced with a small gerbil, tearing at my chest cavity to escape.

Within the week, a Facebook Page emerged asking for support to air the video on U.S. National Television. The campaign was raising funds, and I was overjoyed that a positive and realistic portrayal of LGBT life was gaining so much attention… Then, it just stopped.

The YouTube video currently sits at 6.5+ million views but the Facebook campaign has stopped just short of 10 thousand ‘Likes’. Although the project has raised funds, through the webpage, it has only raised 2.6% of its $50,000 goal.

So, was this video viral? Yes, I believe it was, and the millions of views speak to that. It gained massive public attention on a global scale within a very short period of time.

But was the viral-factor of this video affective at meeting its goals? Sadly, I must conclude that no, it was not. Although the video was highly popular, it did not create the change it sought in a way that could be measured (aka $$$). It may have inspired viewers to open their hearts but they kept their wallets closed.

Ten months later, this campaign appears to be coming to a close. This video, if aired on national television, may indeed have the ability to catapult marriage equality into U.S. law. But unfortunately, for all its emotional appeal, it still lacks the lucrative traction to create change.