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Instant Web Hit

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Sam: Look, see the view count? Only 27 people have clicked on it.
Carly: Oh... Okay, good.
Carly: Sam?
Sam: Yeah?
iCarly pilot

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 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.


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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 a video of the girl characters in skimpy outfits and win.
  • In the Negima!? anime, Nodoka becomes the Japanese Internet's #1 idol after someone posts some pictures of her online. Chisame is not happy about this.
  • Yuri!!! on Ice: The plot is kicked off when the Nishigori triplets record and upload Yuri Katsuki's flawless imitation of figure skating champion Victor Nikiforov's program to the internet. Soon the video goes viral, which catches Victor's attention and inspires him to become Yuri's coach for the next Grand Prix.
  • Zombie Land Saga: In the second season, Lily goes on a talent show and discovers that her opponent is performing the same song that she is. She quickly improvises a remixed version with an entirely different style, and while it doesn't win, it becomes a viral hit online.

    Comic Books 
  • The title character of Kick-Ass becomes a hit because an upload of him being a Determinator in a fight that he cannot win becomes a viral video, considered very inspirational by viewers.
  • Vote Loki: The news coverage of Loki's Do Wrong, Right speech directed at lying politicians goes viral, and becomes the foundation on which the jerk builds his own political career.

    Comic Strips 
  • 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.

    Fan Fiction 
  • For Those We Cherish: Sergeant Aethon of the Lamenters performs a heroic action and rescues a Faunus woman and her siblings when they were lagging behind in an evacuation. Unbeknownst to them, a reporter was among the group and took a picture that went viral online. His Captain does not let him forget it and assigns him to do PR with Team RWBY because of it.
  • Hunters of Justice: To distract Mumbo Jumbo and rescue his hostages, Weiss Schnee upstages his performance by singing. One of the hostages was able to film her performance on his phone and uploaded it to YouTube. It got five million views in three days.

    Film — Animated 
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet: During their mission to try and find a way to get money for Vanellope's replacement steering wheel, the duo stumble upon Yesss, who promises to make Ralph a mega-popular Internet star. Due to many people remembering Wreck-It Ralph from their childhoods, the videos instantly become hits.
  • Turbo: A video of the titular character with a boy commenting "WOAH! That snail is fast!" as he's racing is what makes him popular, to the point where the video gets a Voice Clip Song that turns into a hit song.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Indigenous: Scott uses his app to record a message explaining their plight, and is interrupted by the creatures attacking, which he also captures on video. The resulting clip gets automatically sent to all of his contacts and becomes a viral sensation, breaking the masquerade.
  • In Infamous (2020), Arielle is obsessed with social media but has very few followers. One night, she goes to a party where she gets into a fight and beats up a girl while everyone at the party films the fight and posts it on social media. Arielle immediately gains 147 new followers. This later gives her the idea of livestreaming footage of her and Dean robbing the gas station, which gains her 3000 followers. She keeps doing this through their crime spree; gaining more than 3 million followers.
  • 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.
  • In Sorry to Bother You, a clip of the main character getting hit in the head with a Coca-Cola can becomes a big in-universe meme almost immediately. He's able to parley this online fame into an appearance on the local Sadistic Game Show, so he can get a bigger audience to reveal the conspiracy he has uncovered.
  • 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.

  • Cyber Joly Drim: Jola makes up a silly song out of boredom and heartsickness. Within two days it's everywhere and treated dead serious.
  • I Left the A-Rank Party has a system not unlike livestreaming by which adventurers can record their actions and even broadcast live. Main character Yoke decides to record his new party taking on their first boss monster for tactical review later and decides to broadcast live to start generating interest in their party. The clip promptly goes viral when he one-shots the boss by accident.
  • 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".
  • Doctor Who: "The Power of Three" has a variation: 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.
  • Glee:
    • 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).
  • House of Cards (US): in chapter 6, 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 Voice Clip Song with 308,476 views and spawned dozens of other parodies.
  • iCarly: In the 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.
  • Lizzie McGuire: Matt's webcast from his basement gets a ridiculous number of hits when his father accidentally turns it into a slapstick routine.
  • The Other Two: The premise of the show revolves around Chase's video for his song "I Want to Marry You at Recess" becoming a worldwide viral smash.
  •'s "A Tangled Web" deconstructs this. The victim in question, Francine, has to leave her school because of the constant torment from her video.
  • This trope enabled Vincenzo to delay an illegal demolition at Geumga Plaza from taking place in episode 2. He had uploaded a photo of himself on his Outstargram account, inviting the public to a 'Traditional Sicilian Wine Party for Insiders' which would be held at Geumga Plaza. The post quickly goes viral across Korea and the rest of the world. By nightfall, the venue is packed with people, effectively preventing the Ant Group gangsters from carrying out the demolition.

    Video Games 
  • 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 heavily-armed "anti-bullying" robot — blows up her rival Marcie Holloway 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.
  • Mass Effect 3: The 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.
  • Kiratto Pri☆Chan: This trope plays a major role in the plot of the show. If any video on the titular streaming service becomes this, a sparkling message that says "READY FOR LIVE" will appear on the PriChan Cast of whoever owns the channel, enabling the person who produced that day's top video to perform.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Daughter for Dessert, the erotica stories written by Amanda and posted by Kathy are like this. Heidi heard of the stories before meeting either Amanda or Kathy.
  • In Double Homework, as soon as Dennis releases new footage of the Barbarossa incident, the press is all over it. Justified, as the incident was previously a big news item.


    Web Original 
  • 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.
  • Dad: In "Can't Be Stopped", it's mentioned that Dad, caught dancing at a club, received a billion views after people put the video online.

    Western Animation 
  • 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.
  • The Crumpets:
    • In "CrumStep", Caprice's shared video of Granny and Li'l-One's music concert gave rise to the duo's fame.
    • In "A Grave Affair", Caprice (who started with no fame) posts shocking (mostly staged) pictures of her family members (such as a postmortem one of the not quite dead Granny) and earns thousands of likes. She discovers the Granny picture's popularity and exclaims of it during the funeral.
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends had the embarrassing "Funny Bunny" video.
    Frankie: TWENTY MILLION HITS?!?!?
  • King of the Hill: In a subplot, 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.
  • Kaeloo: In Episode 68, Bad Kaeloo, Quack Quack, Mr. Cat, Pretty and Eugly make a rock song. Someone puts it on the internet and they become incredibly famous overnight.
  • 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 accidentally 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).
  • Steven Universe: Parodied and subverted in "Dewey Wins". Mayor Dewey got a tomato thrown at his face after an unsuccessful attempt at regaining Beach City's population's trust, the incident was recorded and posted on TubeTube, and Steven says only 12 people have seen the video. However, that is about half the town's population, much to Mayor Dewey's dismay.
  • Uncle Grandpa: A girl's stretched-out "duck lips" get 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.
  • Vampirina: Edgar's paranormal-hunting web show is a bomb that only has six viewers and one of them is his grandma. But when he decides to break format and post a video of Vee and Poppy dancing a ghoulish hit, he ends up getting over a million views.

    Real Life 
  • 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, 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.
  • 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.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Overnight Internet Sensation


Gumball's Embarrassing Video

After a horrified Gumball accidentally uploads a video of his reaction to a Screamer Prank, Darwin tries to assure him that no-one will have seen it yet. He's swiftly proven wrong when the view count goes high enough to burst out the side of the monitor. As Gumball puts it: "That's more views than there are people on Earth!".

How well does it match the trope?

4.71 (14 votes)

Example of:

Main / InstantWebHit

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