#BBCtrending: 'I am a Ukrainian' protest video goes viral

By BBC Trending
What's popular and why

media captionAn extract of the video that's been viewed millions of times

A YouTube video of a protester in Ukraine has been viewed 3.5 million times - are we seeing the rise of the viral video protest?

In the three months since the start of the Ukraine crisis, there have been countless videos uploaded to YouTube. But none has had anything like the impact of a video called "I am a Ukrainian". In it, a young protester stands on the street in Kiev on a cold dark night. She addresses the camera directly and simply. "We want to be free," she says - in English. The courts are corrupt, she says, and politicians are behaving like dictators. The video has had thousands of comments, with people writing from around the world to express solidarity - from Egypt to Kashmir to Turkey.

But some of the comments on the video are critical, calling it one-sided "propaganda" which focuses on violence by the police - and mentions nothing of violence by protesters themselves. The woman in the video is a student called Yulia, who has been involved with the protests from the start. Her message is simple, but the production is slick. It was edited and uploaded by an award-winning US filmmaker, Ben Moses, who met Yulia in Ukraine as part of a documentary he is making about protest movements around the world.

This is not the only "protest" video to go viral this week. One called "What's going on in Venezuela in a nutshell" - posted on YouTube by a Venezuelan-American - has been viewed more than two million times. "We're seeing more and more of these kind of protest videos," says Melanie Peck from VAN, a London-based agency which specialises in making and "seeding" viral videos. Unlike the Ukraine video, the Venezuelan one is basic in its production. It has a simple voiceover and a slideshow of images and videos sourced from social media. On YouTube, having a "home-made" feel can be an advantage, as it adds to the sense of "authenticity", Peck says. Videos that do well present information in a "bite-sized" format and come with a "strong call to action" for people to share them. "It's about making people feel like they are making a difference," she says.

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