UCLan Goes Viral

Imagine that one night you go to a club and watch an American rapper. Then next thing you know, he is at your flat cooking you and your housemates a three course meal. Then your housemate pulls out his guitar and voliá you’re getting your own personal acoustic set.

Then within 48 hours you’re the cover story of the BBC, being interviewed by radio stations and you’ve become a viral hit on Youtube.

The internet is a wonderful thing, and not least due to the joys of social networking websites. The first I had heard of this whole thing was after our fortnightly meeting for the student paper. The editor posted on volunteers’ Facebook page that his friend had American rapper, Coolio, cooking for their flat. So of course, being typical journalists someone asked for a video and next thing we knew it was on Youtube.

Youtube… By the next morning it was posted in the Metro. Then today it was all over my Facebook and Twitter feeds, the local station Three FM back home had picked it up because two of the housemates were Manx. Rock FM, a local Preston radio station, interviewed everyone involved before ITV and even the BBC had hold of the story.

Personally, I don’t see why the story got so big but I can definitely see the how. Over a decade ago, journalists would have to witness an event or have a “reliable” witness telling them the goings on in the world.

But it’s not like that anymore.

Now journalists have the advantage of having the world wide web at their finger tips. Even better, they have a real time account of the current comings and goings on a global scale without needing to leave their computers. That Youtube video went viral within about 24 hours, and was picked up by local media within a day. The frenzy which was stirred up would ultimately force the nationals to take note, they want to sell papers and to do this they have to listen to their readers- and apparently their readers were going crazy over a recording of a 90s rapper in a student flat.

Not that I’d complain at the offer of a three course meal.

But I also think that this is the downfall of journalism nowadays. Journalists are getting lazy, as are their readers. The ability to have all this “news” at your finger tips, and for free, means that newspapers just aren’t that popular anymore. I know it’s been covered many, many times before but this viral hit just goes to show what a smart phone and a Youtube account can go to achieve. Throw in a share button, a few other social networking sites and a small amount of enthusiastic friends and you’re a (inter)national star.

The joys of the internet!


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