Why do pet videos go viral?
Why have pets become the unlikely stars of the internet? Why are people watching and sharing them widely? We explore a world of viral videos and superstar pets on social media.
The Why Factor is about our pets on the internet. Those viral videos of our cats stalking us or the dogs saying I love you. Why have cats become celebrities and why do we love to watch and follow them on social media? Mike Williams meets the cat at the top of the viral video tree; the one and only Grumpy Cat with twelve million followers, her owners and business managers are just trying to keep up with all her fans. Assistant Professor Jessica Gall Myrick from Indiana University, conducted an online survey of some 7000 cat video watchers and found that people felt happier watching them and were less likely to feel anxious or sad. With all that happiness around, the creator of NyanCat – an animated cat flying through space with a rainbow trail and catchy tune to match, has a mind-boggling 133 million views last time Chris Torres checked. He tells The Why Factor why he thinks it has been such a viral sensation. We also talk to Jason Eppink, curator of a recent exhibition at the Museum of Moving Image in New York on ‘How Cats Took Over The Internet’. Then there is a serious side to all this cat, dog, chicken and goat watching online. Anh Xiao Mina – a writer and researcher has been looking at the growth of ‘cute cat digital activism’ – the theory that pet viral videos are teaching us important lessons about what we can say and do online and could, in the future, be used to promote new social movements.
Presented by Mike Williams
Produced by Nina Robinson
(IMAGE:Grumpy Cat at the BBC, Nina Robinson - BBC Copyright)