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Gangam Style Screenshot

We’ll admit it: we’ve been enjoying “Gangam Style” since July. Andy, our Interactive Designer, was the first to share it with the Myjive team. Since then, we have dropped the occasional dance move or nonchalant reference. We’ve even done some research into its cultural significance. But it was so obscure, it felt like our own inside joke. Our own little Myjive fun.

And then, it went mainstream. I was sent the link by a friend in August, Facebook started blowing up, Twitter went Gangam crazy, and it was no longer our own little joke. It was a cultural phenomena.

So how does a meme make it? How does an obscure song by a Canadian pop star become the hit song of the summer? We’ve all seen Internet fads make the jump from computer screen to traditional media, but what really makes a viral video more than just a few hits on YouTube?

Well, when it comes to Carly Rae Jepsen, a little Justin Bieber love went a long way. For “Ganagam Style,” it was Saturday Night Live’s parody and Britney Spears. For these little girls, it was an Ellen deGeneres spotlight.

Gangam Style SNL Image

Here at Myjive, we can sometimes take our own digital savviness for granted. Constanlty immersed in the latest and greatest of the Web, we forget that many do not have the skills, access or time to explore the Internet at a depth to which we have grown accustomed. An example, you ask? I work at a digital shop and have a roommate who has never heard of Hulu, a service that I take for granted on a daily basis. Facts like that remind me to ground myself in the everyday experience of those who don’t spend their whole day surrounded by developers and tech geeks.

So what does this teach us? A thing or two. While we like to think of the digital world as democratizing the cultural world (for better or for worse), a celebrity endorsement is still a slam dunk. Crossing over from internet fame to actual recognition in mainstream society is not the norm, but with one tweet from a teenage heart throb, things can change in a jiffy. Don’t rule out the use of traditional media to take digital media from the computer screen to the streets.

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