History will remember “Charlie Bit Me” as the video that changed media forever.
The viral video was raw and authentic. “Charlie Bit Me” challenged the logic of the old media system. It was the opposite of traditional media, which is known for big, complex productions.
It was made by amateurs, in one take, with a simple camera. No professionals were involved in recording, editing or distributing it. But from a user perspective, it was perfect.
Today, it has 860 million views.
As Clay Shirky observed: “The most watched minute of video made in the last five years (2005-2010) shows baby Charlie biting his brother’s finger. (Twice!) That minute has been watched by more people than the viewership of American Idol, Dancing With The Stars, and the Superbowl combined. (174 million views and counting.)”
There’s a lesson in here: innovative ideas don’t look innovative to big companies because they don’t fit into the existing structure. Instead, they collapse it.
Experiments, like “Charlie Bit Me” are only revealed to be turning points in retrospect.