Viral Video Law #3: Pain Is Power

If YouTube views are any indication, people love seeing other people hurt themselves. Whether it be a frustrated skateboarder hitting himself with his own board, a slew of men being kicked in the nuts, a new graduate tripping and falling after crossing the stage with his diploma, or a girl taking a tumble while singing on a table, pain is a recipe for YouTube success.

The FAILBlog YouTube channel seems to have mastered the domain of pain on YouTube. FAILBlog posts videos of people failing at what they intended to do, and the videos frequently consist of people falling and hurting themselves. The most recent FAILBlog masterpiece, ‘Railing Jump FAIL’, shows a guy jumping off a railing only to do a face plant onto a bush and the pavement below. The video, which was posted yesterday, already has over 182,000 views and is currently the ninth most-viewed video of the day.

It is important to point out that when we say that YouTube viewers enjoy pain, they aren’t looking for snuff videos. You’ll notice that, in nearly all of the popular videos where people hurt themselves, they get up and walk away at the end. If you have a video of your friend falling, shattering their arm and crying hysterically on the ground it may be a little too intense to be funny.

What do you think about the pain phenomenon on YouTube? Do you like watching videos of people getting hurt?

Publish date: April 13, 2010 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT