The Buzz

5 top viral videos of 2012

Categories: Social Media

It was the year in which Kony 2012, a video about Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army, alerted the YouTube generation to the evil of child soldiers overnight. The video, a fundraiser for Invisible Children, also stirred great controversy, especially when critics pointed out that it was out of date, as Kony had left Uganda in 2006. The plot deepened further when director Jason Russell had a breakdown that saw him running through streets naked. The video has since been taken down.

It was also the year of the "cinnamon challenge," in which people attempted to swallow a spoonful of ground cinnamon in under 60 seconds without drinking, resulting in dozens of videos of people sputtering powder into the air. Do not try it, as there's a danger of inhaling the cinnamon and blocking your airway.

There were plenty of animal shenanigans, including the cute Lil Bub, and the lion at the zoo who tries to get his paws on a little girl. Plus the usual complement of Edward and Bella parodies and guys who drive vehicles into walls or ponds in attempts to do a stunt worthy of video.

Gangnam Style and its many imitators

Psy's parody of a trendy class of young Koreans has done more to advance K-pop than anyone thought possible, setting an internet record with one billion views. The Korean lyrics, with just a throwaway in English, are no barrier, because the tune is catchy and the dance even more so. PSY's pudgy, slightly nerdy face turned up this year next to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Madonna and others trying to grab some of his 15 minutes in the spotlight. There have been so many imitators, we can't do them justice. Among the best:

Call Me Maybe coins a star

Call Me Maybe birthed a genuine international star in Mission, B.C.'s Carly Rae Jepsen. It was the inescapable song of the summer and notable for being discovered by Canada's other ubiquitous star, Justin Bieber. Call Me Maybe was so catchy, it spawned a score of parodies, including Cookie Monster's Share it Maybe, and Funny or Die's parody with an alternate ending.

But Carly Rae was no teen sensation. At 27, she was an alt-folk music veteran before deciding to switch into a pop vibe. Her new video for This Kiss, with more than 10 million views already, proves she may be more than a one-hit wonder. As does her Grammy nod.

Out of the mouths of babes

Little Abby's tears, coming two weeks before the U.S. presidential vote, reflected what many of us were feeling at that point. There were plenty of sideshows posing as election politics: the Republican governors who wanted to disenfranchise voters, the strange pronouncements about rape, Donald Trump. Then the voters went to the polls and proved democracy was alive in the world's most influential country. The U.S. may be divided but is not undecided. And Abby reminded us of what we ought to know - at some point you have to let the system do its work and go home and pay attention to the kids.

Best marriage proposal

Actor Isaac Lumb set the bar so high for a public proposal, no other man may ever live up to it. His meticulously lip-dubbed performance to the Bruno Mars song Marry You involved 60 friends and family, from the gay neighbours to what appears to be a marching band in uniform. His unsuspecting girlfriend (inset) can be heard laughing through the whole thing, but by the time he goes down on one knee, she's completely overwhelmed...and so are we.

The video that shouldn't have happened

In Canada, the issue of bullying among teens coalesced around a video that Amanda Todd, a Port Coquitlam, B.C., girl, posted before she killed herself on Oct. 10. In it, she used a series of flash cards to tell of her experience of being blackmailed, bullied, and physically assaulted after being tricked into posing nude on the internet. Her story illustrates the double-edged sword of viral video. It promises instant fame, alluring for young people. At the same time it attracts the attention of trolls who can say any cruel thing they please and exploit any young person who ventures onto the internet unprotected, without ever answering for what they've done.

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