The power and influence of social media was never more evident in 2012 from trending videos released on You Tube. And as it reads right on its You Tube Rewind 2012 video, nothing is more powerful than a video whose time is 2012.
All 10 of the most trending videos of the year garnered at least 30 million views. However the list is not a top 10 list of the most viewed videos, with many of last week’s most watched missing the cut, including Rihanna’s “Diamonds,” Will.i.am’s “Scream & Shout” and Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven.”
Not surprisingly, You Tube’s top trending video was South Korean rapper Psy’s “Gangnam Style.” Most viewers, American or international, had no clue what Psy was rapping in his incredibly popular video, but it didn’t matter and has obliterated You Tube’s record for most viewed video of all time with more than 1 billion viewers and still climbing. What’s even more impressive about Psy’s “Gangnam Style” is a version whose lead role and singing is performed by his co-star, the popular K-pop star Hyuna and is approaching 225 million views. In his performance tonight on Dick Clark’s Rockin New Year’s Eve, Psy has indicated that his live performance of “Gangnam Style” in Times Square will be his last, although that’s likely to change, given the mass appeal of record breaking song and video.
In second place on the You Tube Rewind 2012 is a clever rendition of Gotye’s 2011 hit “Somebody That I Used to Know” performed by the Canadian indie band Walk off the Earth. Featuring all five members of this band playing a single guitar, the video has amassed more than 143 million views, while giving Walk off the Earth international success.
If it wasn’t for the enormous worldwide success of “Gangnam Style”, the video in third place might have been THE trending video of the year. Released in March, the 30-minute video from the non-profit Invisible Children “Kony 2012” took the country by storm and set You Tube’s record for most views in a single day with more than 30 million. Yet less than two weeks later, Jason Russell, the co-founder of the non-profit and the star of the video went into a psychotic meltdown on a San Diego street, which was captured on video. Months later, Russell offered an apology for his bizarre behavior that other representatives from the Invisible Children were attributed to extreme exhaustion, stress and dehydration. The movement to remove the Ugandan war lord Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army form Africa remains alive but has lot a tremendous amount of support after Russell’s inexplicable tirade in San Diego, despite a recent march in Washington DC, with more than 10,000 supporters calling for the White House to take more action against the atrocities from Kony and the LRA.
Others singing artists who made You Tube’s Rewind Video were Canadian pop star Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” video, amassing more than 55 million views and practically anthemic amongst teenaged American Olympians during the 2012 Summer Olympics and the 26-year-old violinist Lindsey Stirling, whose breathtakingly beautiful performance of his “Dubstep Violine Original” generated more than 40 million views.
All in all, 2012 was a very successful year for not only You Tube, but for many of its members, who with a release of a video, like Carly Rae Jepsen, can become an overnight sensation. And if many of this year’s best are any indication of what’s to come in 2013, it should be yet another great year.