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Inspiration goes viral

Viral videos: more than entertainment

By: Lynn Walsh

Hours spent on YouTube deliver more than great laughs for people at UC Berkeley.

From the autotuned news broadcasts to the latest video from an up and coming pop star -- viral videos are everywhere!

These are the most viewed YouTube videos of all time as of February 2011, according to the technology blog Read Write Web.

People are logging on and clicking play over and over again. But why? Eight of the top ten most viewed YouTube videos of all time are videos of popular musicians -- the other two have made people laugh hundreds of millions of times.

Search through the top 10 most viewed YouTube videos of all time by genre.

So yes, online videos are viewed for laughter and entertainment, but, one online video expert believes the power of online videos goes deeper than that and is creating a new revolution of global innovation.

Chris Anderson calls this new revolution "crowd accelerated innovation," something he describes as "a self-fueling cycle of learning that could be as significant as the invention of print."

View full map

Map showing density of individuals enrolled in online education courses in different countries throughout the world. Use map layers to compare population of country enrolled in online education with country poverty levels.

People at the University of California Berkeley also believe in the power of online videos, with some saying they can be inspiring and informative.

People use online videos to learn new skills: dance moves, how to play an instrument and how to cook. Online video viewing is also serving as an inspiration for career planning and community building.

Wordle: Chorus of Most Viewed YouTube videos

A visual representation of the most popular words used in the most viewed YouTube videos of all time.

Whatever the reason, online video watching has become much more than a hobby for some people. Let the viewing begin!

Knight Digital Media Center
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