When Student Published Videos Go Viral: Lessons Learned

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In September of 2009, Sarah, the 9 year-old daughter of our keynote speaker posted a 90-second YouTube response to President Obama's speech to US students. This video "went viral" and currently has over 190,000 views. In May 2010, a 6th grader in our keynote presenter's hometown attracted the attention of Ellen Degeneres with his YouTube remix of a Lady Gaga song. Greyson Chance is now a household name and national star with a record contract and his own manager. Join this session to discuss the issues raised by these two situations and lessons learned including Internet safety and digital citizenship responsibilities.

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MACE11 Backchannel: todaysmeet.com/mace11

An audio podcast of this session from 4 March 2011 is available on Fuel for Educational Change Agents.


  1. YouTube (like other tools) is morally neutral: It can be used for good as well as evil (however digital technology is protean!)
  2. We have obligations as educators and parents to help young people learn to make good choices (digital and otherwise)
  3. There are BIG opportunities as well as pitfalls on the digital frontier

Referenced Links:

  1. Jessi Slaughter (Jessica Leonhardt) on YouTube: A Case Study on Digital Citizenship
  2. Sarah's Response to President Obama
    1. Original YouTube video
    2. Over 17,000 views on YouTube in 24 hours (9 Sept 2009)
    3. YouTube Honors for Sarah’s video response to President Obama’s speech <24 hours after posting (9 Sept 2009)
    4. YouTube comment moderation is great (and recommended) when videos go viral (9 Sept 2009)
    5. Criteria for moderating comments on a viral video (10 Sept 2009)
    6. Addressing the R Word Proactively and Flagging YouTube Videos (11 Sept 2009)
    7. A hazard of moderating comments on a popular YouTube video (3 Oct 2009)
    8. Remember to turn YouTube channel comment moderation ON (12 Oct 2009)
  3. Greyson Chance
    1. Following Greyson Chance’s Rise to Musical Fame (23 Oct 2010)
    2. From a church talent show to the Ellen DeGeneres Show: YouTube fame for an Edmond 6th grader (14 May 2010)
    3. YouTube can change your life: Just ask Greyson Chance (26 May 2010)
    4. Greyson Chance, YouTube, Lady Gaga, Paparazzi, Ellen and Jesus (16 May 2010
  4. Willow Smith
    1. Willow Smith's video (YouTube)
    2. Info on Willow Smith's rise to stardom (MTV)
  5. Is it right to decide to make your children famous? (17 Jan 2011)
    1. Lucrative rewards of viral videos encourage parents to put their children on YouTube (17 Apr 2010)
    2. WHERE ARE THEY NOW? YouTube "David After Dentist" Family Rolling In $150,000 (29 Jun 2010)
    3. David After Dentist (original YouTube video)
    4. Website created by David's dad to cash in: www.davidafterdentist.com
  6. Other Videos
    1. Potter Puppet Pals: The Mysterious Ticking Noise (WikiPedia article for Neil Cicierega)
    2. 2011 Super Bowl: Reply All by Bridgestone (Extended - 60 sec)
    3. Reply All - What's In the Email? (Behind the Scenes)

These resources are shared by Wesley A. Fryer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at wiki.wesfryer.com/t4t.