Go Viral with DEVOZINE

Duncan Macleod

The word viral has long been used to describe infectious diseases. More recently, the term has been associated with computer viruses. Now viral is also used to describe the successful spread of videos or images online. Videos that have gone viral include five seconds of drama with a hamster, cute babies laughing, cats with attitude, music videos, clever cartoons, even a rant from someone’s bedroom.

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This summer, devozine challenges you to enter the world of viral videos by creating fresh content that inspires, challenges, and enables people to connect with God’s vision for the world. We’re looking for original videos with the potential for going viral and helping the world become a better place.


What Makes a Creative Piece Go Viral?

Unilever hit the viral charts with “The Dove Evolution,” a video that features a woman being made up, styled, photographed, and “retouched” for an advertising campaign. The film got people talking about ways the media make us feel about our bodies.

Cadbury went viral with a video clip of a man in a gorilla suit, playing the drums to Phil Collins’ hit “In the Air Tonight.” Why the excitement? The video was pure entertainment, a gift from the chocolate manufacturer. (Of course, they failed to get permission to use the song, so the original video is no longer available online. )

The Digital Story of the Nativity,” put together by an advertising agency in Portugal, tells the story of Jesus’ birth using social media, web, and mobile technologies. The video is meaningful, funny, and clever, offering a contemporary way to experience the Christmas story. The video spread quickly through blogs and has been shown in churches around the world.


Tips for Creating a Video

    • devozine Video Shoot Skater TS 82557752Spend some time thinking through the concept for your video. Do you want to promote something or someone? Do you want to relay a message? Do you want to inspire action? Do you want to bless people with a gift? Is your idea fresh and to the point?
    • What format will you choose for the video? Will you do on-the-street interviews? Will you go with a scripted drama, a personal revelation, a confession, or a rant? Do you want to try stop-motion animation? an animated text? a stunt? a music video?
    • Recruit a team. Look for people with abilities in scriptwriting (deciding who says what), art direction (thinking carefully about setting, props, costumes), directing (helping actors do their best), filming (getting the angles and lighting right), sound design, mixing, editing, visual effects, and music.
    • Keep it short. Most viral videos are between 15 and 60 seconds long.


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Ethical Considerations

As far as possible, make sure your material is original. Use original music or music in the public domain. Respect the privacy of others by getting their permission before including them in your video. Avoid inciting hate, distrust, or suspicion.


Seeding a Video

Getting your material out there is an art form in itself. Encourage your friends to help you spread the word. Get help from people who have large online audiences.



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Take the challenge! Use your passion, your creativity, your faith to create a short video with a message. Share it with your friends, your family, your youth group, and your church family.

Better yet, before August 15, 2012, enter your video in devozine’s “Go Viral” Video Challenge and spread your message to young people and adults around the world. To get started, visit today!


Duncan Macleod [] is a minister with The Uniting Church in Australia, based in Canberra, where he provides mission and education support for congregations. In his spare time, he is editor of “The Inspiration Room” [], a website celebrating creative work from around the world.

—from devozine (May/June 2012). Copyright © 2012 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved.

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