The death of funniest home videos



This week’s topics were about affect and viral media. It’s safe to say that we have all watched, shared, liked and re-watched plenty of viral videos by now. What used to be the Friday night family activity of sitting in front of the TV to enjoy the weekly episode of funniest home videos has died out and morphed in something far beyond the family TV thanks to the Internet and Affect. Affect is a simple yet complex idea to understand. We encounter Affect on a regular daily basis. Massumi explains, “Affect is seen as fundamentally delusional. But its illusions are useful. Affect is the domain of mere feeling.” (Massumi 2015, p.85)


When thinking about the rise of the viral video one starts to wonder why a viral video goes viral. When you pull apart this idea you are left wondering if viral videos go viral because they strike a chord with something intrinsic in all humans, which is why we share the video because it represents a shared human experience or if it something more socially constructed. I resonate with Massumi when he discusses if Affect is a feeling that is irrational rather than rational. Affect is also seen as the relation we have with others and the world around us, how our every day interactions shape people and the world. How we understand this in relation to viral videos is the more the content affect people and the world around them (in this case the world would be for example YouTube or Facebook) the more the content is likely to go viral. The more they go viral the more they become virological and networked.

Another way to think about Affect is to focus on its affect it has on our emotions. Next time I am watching a viral video I hope to take more notice on the affect it has on me. Why do I enjoy cat videos when I don’t particularly like cats?

Why does that video of someone doing something stupid make me laugh? Is it because it makes me feel better about itself or is it simply because it is funny?

Below is a video that gives the top 10 tips for making your video go viral. When watching this consider how the role of affect plays into these top 10 tips.











Murphie, Andrew (2010) ‘Affect—a basic summary of approaches’, Adventures in Jutland, January 30, <;

Massumi, Brian with Aryal, Yubraj (2015) ‘Ideology and Escape’ in Massumi, Brian. Politics of Affect Cambridge: Polity: 83-111

] Pybus, Jennifer (2015) ‘Accumulating Affect: Social Networks and their Archives of Feelings’ in Hillis, Ken, Paasonen, Susanna and Petit, Michael (eds.) Networked Affect Cambridge, MA: MIT: 235-249


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