It's time for the Second TV Tropes Halloween Avatar Contest! Details here
Sam: Look, see the count? Only 27 people have clicked on it.
Carly: Thank God.
: THAT'S 27 THOUSAND!
We know that It's A Small Net After All
but even though Everything Is Online
already, when Bob uploads a video or a Web page, especially if this happened by accident or the contents are particularly embarrassing, expect it to get more hits on its first day than a successful non-profit site can hope to get in weeks.
For videos, this is often the result of an Instant Humiliation: Just Add YouTube!
See also Stupid Statement Dance Mix
and Memetic Mutation
This is occasional Truth in Television
when a new website catches the eye of a large news site, or a video becomes a viral internet meme. Even when it does occur, it will usually take at least a week to even be noticed by enough people to become popular. It is possible, but obviously both rarer and slower in real life and not likely to have a viewcount that updates in real time.
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- The Nike "Write the Future" commercial: a soccer player's fancy footwork gains international notoriety when it gets caught on live television and gets replicated via YouTube Poop.
- During the dotcom tech bubble, a shipping company released a TV ad in which three entrepreneurs cheered as their e-commerce site registered its first few purchases. Then the number just kept going up and their expressions turned to looks of horror. At the time, this was a real concern.
Anime & Manga
- Death Note: the cult following for Kira starts on the Internet - in fact, it's the Internet followers who give him his name.
- Kujibiki Unbalance OVA: Doing this is the focus of one of the competitions. The opposing team of Otaku post pictures of anime girls and get large numbers of hits, while the main characters make feeble attempts at websites about trains and such and get few hits - until they decide to post video of the girl characters in skimpy outfits and win.
- Negima!: In the second anime, Nodoka becomes the Japanese Internet's #1 idol after someone posts some pictures of her online. Chisame is not happy about this.
- Dilbert: The PHB tries to invoke this trope by ordering Dilbert to create a video that will go viral. Dilbert's increasing annoyance at trying to explain that this can't be done on command is recorded by Asok and goes viral.
- Marmaduke: At the climax of the movie, the epynomous dog gets rescued by his owner Phil. Nearby kids had filmed the rescue and put it on YouTube.
- The Social Network: Mark Zuckerberg's site "Facemash", created while drunk, gets enough hits within a matter of hours to shut down the Harvard University servers. Truth in Television, as this actually happened, and is likely the most accurately-depicted event in the movie.
- Warrior: A video of Tommy beating Mad Dog at the gym gets uploaded on Youtube by the gym receptionist. It becomes so popular the soldiers overseas are checking it out.
- We're the Millers: The video that Casey takes of Kenny's swollen testicle becomes a popular internet video by the end of the film. Also, the film begins with David watching a bunch of silly youtube videos.
- Zack and Miri Make a Porno: the "Granny Panties" video of Miri got 300.000 hits in the first few hours.
- Michael Crichton's Next: one character creates a fictional Web page to fool her daughter. Within minutes, this page is the top Google hit.
- Son of the Mob: Vince creates a boring, useless webpage about cats for a school project. The page ends up getting thousands of hits, which confuses everyone. Later he finds out his brother was using the page to run a gambling ring.
Live Action TV
- Austin & Ally: this is how Austin ascends to fame. And how the whole plot of the show begins.
- The Big Bang Theory has used this trope a few times:
- Leonard makes a Web page for Penny to sell her small crafts project. While the others are still discussing the merit of the site, an order of 1000 units comes in.
- When Leonard and Sheldon have a fight during a physics lecture, the video Howard shot becomes a YouTube featured video the same evening.
- Sheldon gets drunk and makes a fool of himself at an awards presentation; this becomes a huge hit on YouTube by the next morning under the title "Physicist has a meltdown".
- A variation on Doctor Who: in "The Power of Three", millions of small black cubes appear all over the world. Within one day people have created over a thousand Twitter accounts devoted to the cubes, as well as posting them on Facebook and YouTube.
- Averted when Sue threatens to upload an embarrassing video of the principal, he tells her that he uploaded it himself a week earlier, and it only got two hits.
- Played straight - and a little karmically - in a later episode, when an embarrassing video of Sue dancing to "Let's Get Physical" is posted on YouTube. It soon goes viral and within a matter of days becomes so popular Olivia Newton-John offers her a role in a remake of the music video.
- Played straight in YouTube videos "The Kissed That Missed" humiliation at Nationals (which goes viral worldwide) and "Mercedes Inferno" performance of Disco Inferno (several hundred hits is still pretty significant in a timeframe of less than a day).
- The iCarly pilot: the funny video that started it all has an amazing 27,000 hits on the first evening it has been online.
- In Plain Sight: a teenager in witness protection performs in the school choir and one of the parents makes a video of it and posts it on the Internet. The video goes viral because the girl was an up and coming rockstar before witnessing a murder and she still has many loyal fans wondering what happened to her. Mary has to relocate the girl before the gangsters who want her dead come looking.
- Leverage: used to convince the mark that he can make it big by hiring one of the team. Of course, this is a con - they set up a script to automatically view the video from many different IP addresses.
- On Lizzie McGuire, Matt's webcast from his basement gets a ridiculous number of hits when his father accidentally turns it into a slapstick routine.
- Borderlands 2: Gaige goes from two subscribers in her third ECHO Log to over twenty thousand in her fourth after her science fair project — a fully functional combat robot — blows one of her classmates to pieces due to a miscalibration.
- .hack: Consciously averted in the series, where it is noted at least once that the full Epitaph of Twilight was posted briefly online, but was taken down before many people even knew about it.
- GRID 2: After the first race, a video of your on-track performance gets uploaded on Youtube and it gets millions of views and likes, to the point that a rich American tycoon, Patrick Callahan, is interested on you and wants you to help him out on the creation of a world racing tournament.
- The Mass Effect 3 DLC Citadel has a scene where Kasumi records a drunk Tali imitating a starship with her arms outstretched, humming comically, and posts it online; she claims it's already got thousands of hits and a fansite.
- Achewood: Phillipe's disastrous Public Service Announcement goes viral in this strip.
- Dissonance: Gen uploads some footage of Pandora to YouTube, and gets over 4.7 million hits overnight.
- El Goonish Shive: This strip has multiple You Tube videos documenting a superhero battle get several thousand viewings in less time than it takes the news crew to arrive by helicopter.
- Girls with Slingshots: As Jamie finds out, her drunken "I just want somebody to ravage my body" outburst becomes a YouTube hit and a meme overnight.
- Kevin & Kell: This trope causes Rudy's problems in this episode.
- Leftover Soup: Ellen is Answering Machine Bitch.
- Penny Arcade: In one strip, Tycho finds a video on You Tube that consists of him doing something embarrassing while drunk. By the time he is made aware of it, it gained a number of views much larger than the population of the earth.
- PHD: This strip involves one of the characters setting up a live webcam. Within ten seconds of a female character entering the shot, viewership has jumped from two to 1500, and she has 11 fansites. (and that was back in 2000)
- Sandra on the Rocks: Sandra's (as Gary later puts it) geek chic rant in favour of a female game character that's fun to play goes viral, or rather "bubonic", during the livestream, and afterwards Sandra's website skyrockets from 1 to more than 1.5 million hits overnight.
- Unwinders Tall Comics: Unwinder has a friend film him while he crashes a sled, and he intends to put the video up on youtube. An Imagine Spot ensues, where the video gets 14 million hits, and Unwinder himself becomes an international punchline who no one wants to hire.
- xkcd: In this strip, the video from The Ring is uploaded to You Tube. It almost instantly gains over 300,000 views.
- commodoreHUSTLE: In the episode "Viral", the crew attempt to engineer one of these by imitating styles of viral video. In the resulting episode, "Fallout", they discover they succeeded. Notable in it being a case of Real Life Writes the Plot; they did make the viral videos shown briefly in the former episode, and one of them really did explode in popularity.
- Justin Bieber became a teen idol after a manager found one of his videos on YouTube, and it involved getting millions of views as well:
After posting dozens of homemade videos on YouTube in 2007, where the multi-talented Bieber put his impeccable spin on songs from artists like Usher, music/Ne-Yo and Stevie Wonder, Justin racked up over 10,000,000 views purely from word of mouth.
- It's usually commented that any video uploaded by raocow, or having raocow as one of its tags gets 3,000 to 4,000 views by the end of the day. This includes demos, silly cuts, audiosurf songs, or whatever.
- Happened to Red vs. Blue, believe it or not. Apparently, Rooster Teeth had more than 2 million downloads within a day of posting the first episode. They got popular enough that it took Bungie only a week to notice them. Fortunately, Bungie loved the series (it was essentially free publicity for Halo after all), and did not shut them down.
- Although some criticism and controversy surrounded it, the video Kony 2012 by Invisible Children certainly succeeded at raising awareness of the Ugandan war criminal Joseph Kony (notorious for his use of Child Soldiers). The 30-minute documentary racked up over 100 million views in just six days. According to those who measure such things, it's the fastest-spreading viral video in the history of the internet—all the more impressive when you consider that it's a long, serious piece that doesn't involve kittens.
- Second on the list linked above is Susan Boyle, who made it to 100 million views in nine days. The other runners-up took a while longer to break 100m; by comparison, for instance, Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" took 18 days and Rebecca Black's "Friday" took 45. Not too shabby, but not quite "instant" by that point either.