Sam: Look, see the count? Only 27 people have clicked on it.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! ploy. See also Stupid Statement Dance Mix and Memetic Mutation. This is occasionally 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.
Carly: Thank God.
Carly: THAT'S 27 THOUSAND!
Carly: Thank God.
Carly: THAT'S 27 THOUSAND!
— iCarly pilot
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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.
- An iPhone 6s commercial has a girl take a video with said phone of onions being sliced. The video ends up going viral, is shown in movie theaters, analyzed in film classes, and, eventually, given an award by Neil Patrick Harris.
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.
- In Yuri!!! on Ice, the plot is well and truly kicked off when the Nishigori triplets record and upload Yuri Katsuki's flawless imitation of figure skating champion Victor Nikiforov's routine to the internet. Soon the video goes viral, catching Victor's attention and inspiring him to travel to Japan and become Yuri's coach for the next Grand Prix.
- 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.
- In Cyber Joly Drim Jola makes up a silly song out of boredom and heartsickness. Within two days it's everywhere and treated dead serious.
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.
- This is Deconstructed in Renegadepress.com's "A Tangled Web". The victim in question, Francine, has to leave her school because of the constant torment from her video.
- This happens in chapter 6 of House of Cards (US): Frank Underwood makes a gaffe while in a debate on CNN with Martin Spinella about the teachers' strike. Within less than 24 hours of the gaffe, someone has turned it into a Stupid Statement Dance Mix with 308,476 views and spawned dozens of other parodies.
- 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.
- Unwinder's 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.
- The Amazing World of Gumball: The embarrassing video Darwin and Gumball accidentally upload somehow manages to get more views than there are people on Earth (and possibly more than there are stars in the universe) in less than one minute.
- Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends had the embarrassing "Funny Bunny" video.
Frankie: TWENTY MILLION HITS?!?!?
- Mickey Mouse Works: In the short computer.don, Daisy sets up a Web site with an Embarrassing Old Photo of Donald Duck, which gets a million hits in five seconds.
- Phineas and Ferb:
- In the episode "Lights, Candace, Action", Phineas and Ferb's video of Candace gets a million hits almost immediately - slightly justified because the two were apparently already popular Web directors.
- In episode "Tip of the Day", Dr. Doofenshmirtz accidently showed his embarrassing video to the internet and wanted to erase their minds. It was so famous that he encountered judgemental paparazzi just when he went outside his lab (and that was only to his kitchen!)
- In another episode, Norm the robot shows Doofenshmirtz his video has been made into a digital remix. Norm's words describe it best: "It's got 10 billion hits! And there are only 7 billion people on the planet!"
- The Penguins of Madagascar: Private's accidental fall when stepping on a roller skate (It Makes Sense in Context) turns him into an internet celebrity overnight, until Disaster Dominoes turn the camera on to the female zookeeper doing a silly dance while thinking she was alone.
- The Simpsons: In one episode, Bart puts his Angry Dad cartoon on the Web, and it becomes the #1 non-pornographic site on the entire Web (making it 17 billionth overall).
- In Uncle Grandpa, a girls' stretched out "duck lips" gets millions of views in a very short amount of time, coverage on the news, and even a crowd waiting around her school to get to see her.
- In the subplot of King of the Hill, Kahn wants to become an internet sensation. He tries to reenact the moment when Bill's cowboy hat was blown by the wind and landed perfectly on his head. Even with the failed reenactment video, Kahn, Bobby, Bill, Boomhauer, and Peggy became happy after they received 4 views after a few seconds of uploading.
- 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:
- 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.
- Texas mom Candace Payne posted a Facebook video of herself trying on a Chewbacca mask and breaking into Contagious Laughter. In less than four days it picked up a record-smashing 140 million views.