Viral Ingredient: Virtuosity

This post is part of a series of posts describing the ingredients that cause media to go viral: Viral Marketing Ingredients

Virtuosity describes when a story or video captures sheer, remarkable talent. From a viral standpoint, it also helps if the talent is coming from someone we have never heard of. For example, we all know Eric Clapton can play the guitar, but have you ever heard of Funtwo? I hadn’t either, but a video of him playing Vivaldi is one of the most-watched on YouTube. And the words “I learned to play guitar with GuitarMasterPro.net!” that accompany the video have driven many aspiring Funtwo’s to the guitar instruction site/service. The low-fi clip was produced by GuitarMasterPro, and markets their services as well as Clapton ever could.

While the GuitarMasterPro video captures what the site is offering, this one is about as subtle as advertising gets. Can you tell who produced this video?

Watch for it … watch for it …

Ok, did you notice the Gatorade bottle sitting next to her chair right at the end? Unfortunately, the clip is a fake and no matter how much Gatorade you drink you won’t be able to defy gravity. The ball girl was a stuntwoman assisted by wires. But for a while people passed the clip around, wondering at her achievement.

This last one is not marketing any business or product, but the Evolution of Dance has to be included for the fact that it launched the talented but otherwise unknown Justin Laipply in to viral stardom. This video is one of the most watched ever on YouTube.

As a marketing technique, virtuosity works best when it is relevant to the nature of your business. Does your product or service enable people to do remarkable things? If so, think about capturing some of your customers doing what they do on video. Not only does this showcase what you offer, it is a way to celebrate your customers.

Two Octobers helps businesses in Colorado’s Front Range with low- and no-cost marketing. For more information on our services, click here.

Viral Ingredient: Misdirection

This post is part of a series of posts describing the ingredients that cause media to go viral: Viral Marketing Ingredients

Before reading on, watch this video and see if you can count the passes:

And this Berlitz ad:

I put the Berlitz ad in so that you wouldn’t read this before watching the first video, but it is also a good example of misdirection. If you’re like me, you were totally had by the first one. I counted all of the passes and I completely missed the moonwalking bear. Misdirection occurs when a video or story takes us down one path, then surprises us with an unexpected ending.

We like to share things like this because they are clever, but also because we feel duped, and we want to see if others will fall for the same trick. What makes the Test Your Awareness video particularly effective is that the trick is also the message.

Here is another brilliant example:

To summarize, the protagonist is relentlessly annoying until at the end you realize that he is the wind, and that the wind can be harnessed for Good. A perfect message coming from Epuron, which is a German wind energy company, and the company has generated over 2 million views with the video. I also like that a German company chose a Frenchman to be the embodiment of annoying, but that’s another subject.

Please comment if you know of other good examples. For other posts in this series, click here.

Viral Marketing: the Piggyback Effect

This is one in a series of posts describing some the ingredients that cause media to go viral. I am presenting a variety of examples, but I am most interested in how local businesses can create viral media for marketing purposes. As you read this, think about ways you can leverage these ingredients to tell your story.

The piggyback effect occurs when a story parallels, references or out-and-out mimics a recent  newsworthy event or other viral media. For example, most popular music videos that are posted on YouTube are quickly followed by spoof or cover videos that piggyback on the popularity of the original.

A good illustration of the piggyback effect is the premiere episode of the animated series the Meth Minute. This clip parodies nearly every major viral video or story to-date. But it would appear that the producer’s ability to create original content does not match his ability to piggyback on other’s success. This clip has been viewed over three million times, while episode two lags far behind with 700 thousand views, and episode three has just 400 thousand views.

Another classic example is the abudance of spoof videos that followed the train-wreck performance of Miss Teen South Carolina, which has been viewed over 40 million times on YouTube. One of many response videos was Miss Teen South Carolina Calls 911, which promotes the comedy team Quiet Library. The spoof starts with the beauty queen shouting “What’s the number? What’s the number?” when she is asked to call 911. It is a funny video, but they have the unfortunate original to thank for their nearly 7 million views. This example also illustrates part of why piggybacking works. The Quiet Library video comes up when you search “Miss Teen South Carolina” in YouTube, which means that the millions of people who search for the original also see a link to the spoof.

I find this effect particularly interesting when it is inadvertent. For example, a coffee shop in Aurora Colorado recently got a lot of attention because it was forced to take down a banner that featured the bikini-clad servers that work in the shop. Nearly every reference to this story also mentioned a story the week before involving a billboard that was taken down in Colorado Springs because it featured puppet cleavage. Two Colorado cleavage stories just a week apart was too much for the media to resist, even though the second event was pretty unremarkable.

Another good example is a video produced by the company Bullet Blocker, promoting a bulletproof backpack for children. This video doesn’t spoof other stories, but includes somber reminders of some of the tragedies that have happened in our schools. The tragedies it references are some of the most searched-for news content on the internet. The owner of the company says the video accounted for a dramatic increase in sales.

Please comment if you know of other good examples. For other posts in this series, click here.

Viral Ingredient: Is It Real?

This is one in a series of posts describing some the ingredients that cause media to go viral. I am presenting a variety of examples, but I am most interested in how local businesses can create viral media for marketing purposes. As you read this, think about ways you can leverage these ingredients to tell your story.

“Do you think his hair is real?”
“Did she really just do that?”
“Scientists at so-and-so university examined the photo and say it hasn’t been doctored.”

People love musing over things that may or may not be fake, and this is usually a very social activity. The is-it-real effect occurs when some form of content gets forwarded or posted with the question: is it real? Debate over such content is a very popular activity online. As I write this, countless online forums and comment threads are ablaze with discussion over some stunt or oddity.

Perhaps the greatest example of this phenomena as a marketing stunt was the remarkable saga of lonelygirl15. The ‘Catcher In the Rye’ of our time, for the summer of 2006 lonelygirl15 captured the hearts and minds of teens and sympathetic adults around the world with her brutally honest video journal. Or was it brutally honest? As the summer progressed, people started to suspect that this girl was just too perfect, and the events she described a little too engaging. But she just seemed so real! lonelygirl15 was outed in September of 2006 as a promotional stunt, and that’s when the publicity really began.

It turned out that lonelygirl15 was an actress, and her journal was the beginning of a series created by a then-unknown production company. Many people were upset by the deception, but the debate and subsequent outing created the publicity the producers were after. This points out a danger of using is-it-real as an ingredient. Assuming it isn’t real (it usually isn’t), people will eventually figure it out, which can create a negative backlash. This may be fine for a movie or other form of fictional entertainment, but most businesses don’t want customers feeling like they’ve been tricked. Nonetheless, it can be a quick way to get a lot of attention.

A somewhat tongue-in-cheek variant on this phenomenon is evidenced by the following clip promoting Microsoft in Germany. I don’t know if this is real or fake, but I do know the question has been widely discussed. Either way, Microsoft is pretty safe because it really has nothing to do with their products. This clip also demonstrates an key element of the is-it-real phenomenon: if you own a tripod, leave it at home. We continue to fall for the idea that people who don’t own tripods must be honest. One would have thought that the Blair Witch Project would have done away with this illusion, but low-fi production equipment continues to be a staple of internet fakery.

Another great example of is-it-real is the following Nike ad featuring soccer star Ronaldihno. After an unbearably long build-up watching him lace on his new Nike’s, he remarkably kicks the ball across the field and bounces it off the crossbar time after time. The clip generated a huge amount of debate, and seemed pretty much designed to get people asking the question. In one of many forums, bigsoccer.com members voted for or against. So far, 1,327 people say it’s real, while 1,602 disagree.

The best local-to-Colorado example of this effect was the unfortunate story of the boy and the weather balloon. Last fall the world turned their eyes on Colorado as news broke that a boy had accidentally drifted away on an experimental weather balloon. Water-cooler conversation quickly turned to the veracity of the story, given that the parents are known attention seekers. The boy was later found hiding in the garage, but not until after the National Guard had been called out and Denver International Airport had been shut down. It did later turn out that the boy was told to hide by his parents, and that the whole thing was a disgusting publicity stunt. Marketing doesn’t get any more abhorrent than that.

Please comment if you know of other good examples. For other posts in this series, click here.

Viral Ingredient: Pass-It-On

This is one in a series of posts describing some the ingredients that cause media to go viral. I am presenting a variety of examples, but I am most interested in how local businesses can create viral media for marketing purposes. As you read this, think about ways you can leverage these ingredients to tell your story.

I am using “pass-it-on” to describe what happens when we find a message powerful or heartwarming and want to share it with our friends. A classic example of this effect was a quote attributed to Kurt Vonnegut that got forwarded millions of times by email in 1998:

Ladies and gentlemen of the class of ’98: Wear sunscreen. If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.
Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they’ve faded…more

It turned out that the text was actually based on a column by a Chicago Tribune writer and not Kurt Vonnegut, but the words went on to be the basis of a popular song and have been quoted many times since. I remember when I received it as an email, because it was forwarded to me several times in the course of a few short days. It is a well-written speech with a good message that people wanted to share.

Another great example is this video by Dove exposing the artificial representation of beauty in popular media. When it came out, I wanted my children to watch it so they could understand how much of what they see is engineered and not natural. Many millions of people felt the same way. The message creates a positive association with Dove’s brand, and is a direct affront to more style-focused health and beauty products.

These examples involve big companies or famous people, but the pass-it-on effect works very well for small organizations and companies too. A recent blog post by a Colorado writer celebrated the first birthday of a McDonald’s Happy Meal that had been sitting open on the shelf for the past year. Her post was written about on Consumerist.com, Fark, BoingBoing, the HuffingtonPost and many other blogs and news sites. The publicity drove over 75 thousand people to her site, as well as all the exposure she received on other sites. Given that her site is focused on selling her books about children’s nutrition, that’s a lot of qualified leads.

Sometimes the pass-it-on effect is made explicit, as when the Dictionary.com page defining the word “cult” was posted on the link sharing site Digg.com. The link was posted with the title: Digg this if you are sick of $cientologists burying articles – and is the 5th most dugg article on Digg and has been commented on over one thousand times. Another explicit example happened this January, when women began posting their bra color on Facebook. Like many, I was stumped by the status updates: “black”, “beige”, “blue”, etc. The original source of the phenomenon is not known, but one story that got passed on was that it was to raise awareness for breast cancer. Whether or not this was the original cause, the Susan G. Komen Foundation was shocked to find their Facebook following go from 135 on the morning of January 8th to over 135,000 by the end of the day. They insist they didn’t have anything to do with the campaign, but they were a significant beneficiary.

I’ll end with the bizarre story of the inmates of the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center in the Philippines. Byron Garcia, the manager of the jail, organized and choreographed the prisoners in to doing a performance of Michael Jackson’s Thriller. This is just one of many things he’s done along these lines, but the video of this particular event has had over 40 million views on YouTube. In his words, “Rehabilitation has to be anchored on bringing out the best in men instead of the worst in men.” Pass it on.

Please comment if you know of other good examples. For other posts in this series, click here.


Viral Marketing Ingredients

For a little while now, I have been writing weekly blog posts summarizing viral media happenings in Colorado. I’ve been doing these posts in order to identify and point out techniques that marketers and others use to get viral attention.  They are also pretty fun to research. Along the way, I have noticed that certain ingredients help blog posts, videos or other media get forwarded from person to person. This post is the first in a series exploring what those ingredients are. Doing research for the series has helped me understand how businesses can benefit from and create viral media. I hope my findings are helpful to you too. I’ve also tried to use funny and interesting examples – some are probably familiar, and some surely not.

What gets me most excited is when I find a small company that has created a successful viral marketing campaign without big celebrities or a hefty marketing budget. For example, have a look at this video on the home page of Biota Spring Water. The video tells the story of how their bottles bio-degrade, and has been viewed many thousands of times. It is not shocking or hilarious, but it does communicate what is special about Biota Spring Water and has captured the interest of a lot of viewers. I believe that most small businesses have a compelling story to tell. If you can get at the heart of your story with a clever video, web site or email, you have a shot at going viral.

Here is my list of viral marketing ingredients. As I do example posts, I will link to them here:

  • Pass-it-on – the desire to help someone spread a message because the reader agrees with its point of view. Click here for examples.
  • Is It Real? – when something seems too freaky or amazing to be real. Click here for examples.
  • The Piggyback Effect – an event that resembles or mimics another well-publicized event. Click here for examples.
  • Absurdity – CEO’s with blenders, subservient chickens and other unlikely characters. Click here for examples.
  • Ohmygod! – the sense of ‘I can’t believe I’m really seeing what I’m seeing’.
  • Make-believe – we all like to play make-believe, we’re just not supposed to do it as grownups.
  • Virtuosity – watching sheer talent in action. Click here for examples.
  • Misdirection – the surprise ending. Click here for examples.
  • Play – having fun with people, people having fun.

I haven’t called humor out as an ingredient, but it has to be said that most successful viral media makes us smile or laugh – the desire to share laughter is a universal and wonderful human trait. I am also not including celebrities, news events, sporting events and cute baby animals as ingredients. I don’t mean to downplay their effectiveness in viral media, I’m just not as interested in researching those topics.

If you know of other ingredients or examples, I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

Credit where credit is due – these are some particularly good resources for tracking viral media:

Rocky Mountain Viral – 3/28/2010

Viral marketing news and other viral happenings in Denver Metro, Boulder and beyond.

Talking About the Weather – I have now lived in Colorado long enough that I am no longer surprised by the massive spring storms that inevitably pummel the Front Range. But I have to say that I still find the regular irregularity of the weather fascinating. In the past seven days we have seen beautiful 60-something degree weather and one of the biggest storms of the season. There is an odd YouTube subculture that captures such dramatic weather swings in the form of time-lapse video. Two such videos drew some attention this past week. The more popular of the two has better quality video, better music and nice placement of wind chimes in the foreground, but I find it kind of long. The  second is much lower quality video, but covers almost the same time span in a fifth of the time, and provides a nice view of the clouds in the sky. Watching the two, I would have to say that clouds are an essential ingredient of time lapse video. Here is the second:

What’s Not Happy About a Happy Meal? – Apparently, one thing that doesn’t look so interesting over time is a McDonalds Happy Meal. While some have agued that McDonalds’ food leads to anything but immortality, the food itself has remarkable staying power. That was the subject of a project and blog post undertaken by Colorado author Joann Bruso, who observed a Happy Meal over the course of a year and celebrated it’s first birthday several weeks ago. She wrote a blog post memorializing the anniversary, which has received quite a bit of coverage. The success of her project highlights the fact that a story doesn’t need a lot of pomp and circumstance to go viral if it is told sincerely and encapsulates a clear message.

Sixty Seconds, Forty Days – Several weeks back, I wrote about Ubuntu now’s Wall of Fame. That was a teeny bit interesting, but in retrospect they should have hired Denver agency Sukle Advertising and Design. The firm is responsible for creating a similar, but more compelling campaign to raise awareness and money for the cause of clean water for children around the world. The campaign is called the sixtyfortyproject, and allows a donor to post a message to one of two very public electronic billboards in downtown Denver in exchange for a donation of a dollar.  The name refers to the fact that a dollar buys sixty seconds of billboard time and  forty days of clean water for a child. Good cause and idea, but I’m surprised that there is not more of a web element to the project – it would garner much more attention (and money) if video of the billboards was displayed live on the web and if contributor’s messages were pushed out via Twitter and other channels.

Save the Tails! - While I can relate to the causes Bruso and Sukle’s are promoting, others mystify me. This Thursday there was a “save the animals” rally in Denver. But the animals in question are not the living and breathing kind, they are the animals painted on the tails of Frontier airplanes. Protesters were concerned that Frontier’s recent acquisition by Republic Airways may spell the end of the brand and it’s two-dimensional mascots. There is also a KEEP THE FRONTIER BRAND AND ANIMALS group on Facebook, with over 5,000 members. While I do see the event and group as a testament to branding, they also strike me as a colossal waste of energy and time.

In Longmont, Colorado Bar T’at – This one isn’t viral, but I can’t resist. The Denver Post did a story on Nature’s Casket, a business in Longmont that produces “green” coffins made out of beetle-killed Colorado pine. The coffins are part of a movement towards earth-friendly embalming and burial methods. Reading the article, I was immediately reminded of the song ‘On Ilkley Moor Bar T’at’. The song is the unofficial anthem of Yorkshire, England, and the lyrics are written in the old Yorkshire dialect. Here is a translation of the last few lines:

Then we will have to bury you
Then the worms will come and eat you up
Then the ducks will come and eat up the worms
Then we will go and eat up the ducks
Then we will have eaten you
That’s where we get our own back

I’m not sure if viral media and casket manufacturing go together, but a pine-beetle version of this song just has to be made. I will post what I come up with next week. Here is an interpretation of the original as sung by some of the lovely lads and lasses of Yorkshire:

Ring Girl ReduxLast month I mentioned how Colorado teen Conner Cordova had launched an all-out media campaign in order to land a senior prom date. The object of his obsession affection was UFC ring girl Arianny Celeste, who ultimately relented accepted. Well, I’m happy to report that the date did actually happen last Saturday night. The boy told Bill Husted of the Post that he got her number and “ended up getting a kiss, which was awesome.”

With Cordova’s penchant and savvy for media attention, he most certainly does have her number.

This is a weekly update, please comment if there are topics or items I have missed.

Rocky Mountain Viral – 3/21/2010

Viral marketing news and other viral happenings in Denver Metro, Boulder and beyond.

This Shelf for Rent - The Boulder Bookstore is one of my favorite places to visit after a nice meal on Pearl Street. It is also the subject of a lot of recent interest for how it is enabling authors promote their books. Writers who are having a difficult time getting shelf space in the local Barnes & Noble can pay Boulder Bookstore to carry their books on consignment. This program is strengthening ties to the local literary community, and many of the participating authors also end up promoting the store. I think this is an interesting model for local retailers of all sorts. Is there something you can be doing to cultivate a network of ambassadors for your business?

This Dome for Rent – In a trip to Tokyo a few years ago, I was struck by how advertising covered almost every available surface in the subway system. Well, I think this tops anything I saw there. The State of Colorado is looking to sell advertising space on the dome of the capitol building. The purpose of the plan is to raise money for restoration of the dome, and lawmakers seem to be hanging on to the idea that it will be executed in a “tasteful” way. I’d love to see what PETA would do if they got ahold of a giant dome, but I’m guessing that our dome will have to settle for something a little less controversial.

Everything Tastes Better with Bacon – Denver web design firm Data Incorporated created an interactive game called Find the Bacon to showcase Freebase, the “definitive open database of people, places and things.” The game is based on the six degrees of Kevin Bacon concept, and wins points for an engaging UI. What I find most interesting is that Find the Bacon is joining an already crowded field. The Oracle of Bacon has iPhone app for Bacon enthusiasts, and there’s even a thekevinbacongame.com. There may be such a thing as too much bacon. (I’m sure the PETA folks would agree.)

Yarnbombing – I came across this via the Denver Egotist this week, though it’s not a new story. A group of women called the Ladies Fancywork Society have been terrorizing the city with guerilla knitting. In the dark hours of the night they practice their craft by covering bike racks, light poles, sculptures and other urban miscellany with delightful crochet. If there was such a thing as a Nobel Prize for knitting, these women would deserve it for doing their best to cover up the heinous sculpture outside the Performing Arts complex. Knit on ladies, I love what you do!

Topless Gardening – I am starting to work on a taxonomy of viral media, which I will publish soon. In the taxonomy, I am recording the various principles that contribute to an article, video or other media going viral. One of the most interesting principles I’ve found is what I am calling “piggybacking”. This is where a story gains some of its interest by piggybacking on to another story. This week provided a perfect example of this, when a Boulder resident decided to do some topless gardening. The “news” got picked up by a number of sites, in spite of the fact that it is profoundly uninteresting. What I think happened is that this story piggybacked on all the recent coverage of Boulder’s increasingly strict nudity laws (which I mentioned a few weeks back).

I am still pondering on the viral taxonomy of the skunk that got it’s head stuck in a peanut butter jar. I’m thinking that may deserve a classification all to itself.

This is a weekly update, please comment if there are topics or items I have missed.

Rocky Mountain Viral – 3/14/2010

Viral marketing news and other viral happenings in the Denver Metro and Boulder area.

Un-Affiliated in Colorado – People all over were talking about Amazon’s move to cut off their affiliates in the State of Colorado, in protest against state law HB10-1183. The law obliges online retailers to collect Colorado sales tax for goods sold in the state, or make consumers aware that they owe the tax. Within the state, opinions were divided and heated. I myself have gotten in to a few arguments on the subject. Carol Hedges, of the Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute, wrote a piece on Huffington Post describing the debate. What is odd about Amazon’s move is that it is directed against affiliates, who are unaffected by the law. Clearly the intent is to get people fired up, without any significant risk to Amazon revenue. Since many bloggers and internet cognoscenti are also Amazon affiliates, cutting them off has proven to be a very effective tactic.

It’s In Your Hands – There is one topic everyone can agree on: periOperative Registered Nurses should know how to wash their hands. This was the message behind a video contest put on by the Denver-based Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN), with the winner to be announced at this week’s AORN Congress in Denver. Sadly, I could not find any Colorado entrants in the contest, but in any case it would have been embarrassing to see them lose to this remarkable entry from Billings, Montana:

The contest is quirky and goofy, but a great way to spread a message on a budget. The rest of the entrants can be found here.

Friended a Ghost Lately? – I’m not sure how I ended up there, but I came across this on the Nachos of Doom blog. Apparently, the Stanley Hotel is pulling out the social-media stops with regards to promoting their paranormal history. Their Facebook Page is abuzz with would-be ghost hunters, and hotel staff actively engage in the discussions. Here’s a little sample from their Facebook Wall:

This is a clever way to capitalize on a colorful past, and create awareness about a beautiful hotel in a beautiful setting.

Snow at First Sight – Unfortunately, I think this one falls short. With the best of intentions, the Colorado Board of Tourism staged a contest called Snow at First Sight. The winners are finishing up their prize this month, which was an all-expenses-paid trip to Colorado for three full months of skiing, snowmobiling and carousing around the state. To participate, contest entrants had to submit a video explaining how they had never even seen snow, and why they deserved to win the trip. There is a web site dedicated to the promotion, a Facebook Fan Page. And the winners have been tweeting away. But considering all of the rigmarole, not very many people are paying attention. One reason may be that it’s hard (impossible?) to find said Facebook Page and Twitter feed from the Snow at First Sight web site. Rule one for getting followed is to make yourself easy to follow. But I think the bigger reason is that it just isn’t all that interesting to watch people play in the snow for three months. I will never forget being with a friend from Costa Rica when he saw snow for the first time. It was great to vicariously experience the wonder of snow. But that was entertaining for an hour or so. Most of the media value of this contest expired shortly after it began.

Why I Am Not a Zamboni Driver – Coloradan Kenneth Waesche got his 15 minutes of viral fame this week when he snapped this photo of a Zamboni fallen through the ice, with a “Caution Thin Ice!” sign in the foreground. The photo got Dugg, Farked, Tweeted and everything else. Kudos to Waesche for lining up the perfect shot.

The Librarian’s Revenge – And last but not least, it’s time to scour your shelves and make sure you haven’t forgotten to return any books or movies to the library. A Colorado teenager was arrested because of an overdue DVD he had failed to return to the Littleton Public Library. The Consumerist asks “Is there a difference between not returning a library DVD and stealing one from a video store?” Well, yes there is, because one isn’t stealing. And if my video store puts out a warrant for my arrest for not returning a movie, I’m switching to Netflix.

This is a weekly update, please comment if there are topics or items I have missed.

Rocky Mountain Viral – 3/7/2010

Viral marketing news and other viral happenings in the Denver Metro and Boulder area.

Ok, I guess I’ll take a short break from watching the This Too Shall Pass video from OkGo to write this update. Since the video doesn’t have anything to do with Colorado, I won’t include it here.

More Colorado Cleavage – Last week Colorado Springs was banning puppet cleavage, this week the human variety is under siege in Aurora. Local coffee shop Perky Cups had to remove a banner featuring a bikini-clad barista. Apparently, Perky Cups’ schtick is scantily clad servers. Of course the fact that the banner was taken down has generated far more attention than if it had stayed up, with the story making national news and generating a lot of internet buzz. Personally, I prefer coffee shops that share my obsession for the bean itself, such as Ozo in Boulder and Kaladi in Denver.

Epic Longboard Sliding – I have a number of cycling friends who view longboarders as a nuisance and nothing more. If you share their opinion, you’d better watch this video. It is produced by longboard company Bustin Boards and shot in the mountains of Colorado. Grace and athleticism, that’s all I have to say.

Cubicle Wars 2010 – If the longboard dudes had spent less time boarding and more time playing World of Warcraft, they might have produced this video instead. It was created by Boulder software company Windward Reports, and is the sequel to 2006′s Cubicle Wars. The original has been watched almost two and a half million times. The sequel is funnier.

IE6, May It Rest In Peace - And speaking of software geeks, Denver-based Aten Design Group hit the viral jackpot when they were written up in Techcrunch for staging a funeral for Microsoft’s IE 6 web browser. This was a brilliant stunt all around, combining absurdity and niche-enthusiasm with just the right amount of media savvy. Perhaps the icing on the cake was the fact that Microsoft actually sent flowers to the event. Long live Aten Design, and may IE6 rest in peace.

A High Fiber Diet? – Google is looking for a suitable community to test their planned ultra high-speed broadband network, and several local communities are putting on their Sunday best. The network will deliver up to one gigabyte per second to the home. That’s enough to deliver a typical DVD in a few seconds, and roughly a thousand times what most people have today. The City of Boulder has created a web site, Facebook fan page and Twitter feed dedicated to the effort. And a map showing the location of all the residents hungry to watch Cubicle Wars in high-def.

Self-Promotion for Good – This one isn’t viral yet, but it should be. Colorado non-profit Ubuntunow.org has created a virtual wall of supporters, which you can join for a donation of $10 (or more if you want). The donation goes to help promote gender equality and support the fight against rape and HIV/AIDs in South Africa. And you get your face on the wall and a link to whatever you would like to promote to boot.

Little Green Lobbyists – When I first saw the Peeping Tom Alien a few years ago, I was scared to be alone in the dark. This might be a little freakier. Jeff Peckman, the man who introduced the Peeping Tom Alien to David Letterman, held the Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission’s “Welcome to Earth” campaign launch at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds on Thursday. In case you weren’t there, he was campaigning for support for the group to become an official part of Denver city government. Elected officials in Boulder and Colorado Springs are in favor of the measure, as it would make both cities appear uncharacteristically level-headed in comparison.

Back to This Too Shall Pass. Amazing what you pick up the second hundred times you watch it.

This is a weekly update, please comment if there are topics or items I have missed.