Going Viral: When Ordinary People Become Heroes

By | February 11, 2012

Courtesy of The Blaze, via YouTube Screenshot

The latest “viral” video making the rounds on the internet is of a very fed up father taking out his frustration on his daughter’s computer to teach her a lesson. Not only is it making the rounds online, it is actually being reported on the news. Where I come from, this is not really a news story, it is simply an example of how every action has consequences.

Since when did a father showing his daughter that her actions have consequences become the news? No one was physically hurt, although the ordeal has brought Child Protective Services to their doorstep. After talking with the daughter, and doing a routine investigation, CPS determined that all was safe and sound, and this was indeed just a father trying to teach his daughter a life lesson.

Not only has the video itself gone “viral”, but Tommy Jordan, the father that made the video, has become somewhat of a Facebook celebrity from the incident. The family is now overwhelmed from the media attention they have garnished, and have turned off their phones for the weekend just to get some family time.

So what is it that has made Tommy Jordan’s video go “viral”?

Have you ever stopped and asked yourself the question: Why does a video go viral?

We will take a look at a few examples to see if we can find the answer to that question.

First, let’s start with the definition from the urbanditionary:

1. Short for ‘viral marketing’. An online marketing strategy that encourages people to pass on a marketing message. Amusing and low-budget, a good Internet viral campaign will get surfers forwarding the ad to all of their friends to others, giving the company great word of mouth.

2.  precious, rare, infrequent, one in a million kind.
“continuously duplicating,” and can refer to a biological or computer virus.

Applicable Thesaurus entries: video, Youtube, internet, funny, web, Facebook

Tommy Jordan is not the first, and most certainly will not be the last person who will go viral. While this was not Mr. Jordan’s goal, there is no doubt that there is something unique about his approach.

Let’s look at a completely different case and point. Susan Boyle, the 2009 winner of the reality show Britain’s Got Talent. When asked what her dream was, she simply stated, “to be a professional singer.” She did not say fame, fortune or notoriety. She did not say she wanted to leave a boring life behind. In fact, the somewhat saucy Susan seemed quite content with herself and her life with her cat, Pebbles. She simply wanted to live out her dream- to sing in front of an audience. When asked why her dream had never worked out before, she simply stated that she had never been given the chance before.

 

As you can see from the above video of Susan Boyle’s first audition, she had absolutely no idea she was going to go viral. She simply was given the chance to live out her lifelong dream. She sang her song and exited stage left. They had to call her back on to the stage to face the judges. In her mind, she had fulfilled her dream and was ready to go home.

Then there is the case of the Evolution of Dance:

 

Judson Laipply had no clue his nifty stand-up dance routine would go viral. Mr. Laipply is a bit different from the other two examples, because it is safe to assume that though he had no idea how popular it would be, it was his ultimate goal. While Mr. Laipply more than likely thought it would be great to go viral, for Susan Boyle, it’s likely that she never imagined that she would become a household name. In fact, after she became so famous, dealing with the media attention became overwhelming for her, and she had to take a step back from the spotlight.

The last example we will look at is Webcam 101 for Seniors:

 

There is absolutely no doubt that Bruce and Esther Huffman from McMinnville, Oregon had no intention of going “viral”. It is probably safe to say that this was the absolute last thing on their mind, due to the fact that they had no idea the camera was turned on. They were simply trying to figure out their new webcam. They have since been dubbed “The Happy Huffmans” because of their good natured fun. As someone on YouTube stated:

“You can learn a lot about how to live a good life from this video.”

So let’s go back to the original question we asked ourselves: Why does a video go viral?

Could it be that we, as a society, have become bored with the constant drivel that is called entertainment? We are spoon-fed remakes of classic movies and music on one hand, and complete garbage on the other, so much of the time. When something or someone unique comes along, we devour it like mad! This would be the case in the examples of Susan Boyle and Judson Laipply. They become heroes because they are out of the ordinary.

In the case of “The Happy Huffmans”, could it be that in a day and age where our lives have become inundated with the “latest and greatest” technological gadget, this couple is a welcome change to the fast paced world we live in? They are clueless about the technological world, yet neither of them every get frazzled trying to figure it all out. The Huffman’s become heroes because they remind us to live a good life, treat others well and be happy.

Finally, in the case of Tommy Jordan, could it be that the world CRAVES his old fashioned lifestyle, where actions have consequences and the word “entitled” isn’t even a blip in the dictionary of a teenager? Could it be that so many people would love to do the exact same thing he did (whether it is a computer, cell phone, iPod, or some other gadget or extra-curricular activity), but they are just too scared to actually take action?

Mr. Jordan has stated that he is no hero. But he is. No, not in his eyes, which, quite honestly, makes him all the more a hero. A true hero does not see himself as such. However, Mr. Jordan did what he thought was necessary to get the message across to his daughter that he meant business. That is the essence of a hero.  Mr. Jordan has become a hero because he reminds us that we- the PARENTS- are in control of how we parent our children, not the progressive liberals, the education system, or the government!

As many have stated in the comments on Mr. Jordan’s Facebook wall, one day his daughter will appreciate what he has done! While it is very unlikely that she will appreciate the world-wide attention their family has received from the video, she will most certainly appreciate the fact that her Dad and Mom loved her enough to do whatever necessary to make sure she understands that she has crossed the line. Children need boundaries. There is no doubt that Hannah realizes she crossed a boundary with her actions, and she is now reaping the consequences. A tough lesson learned, but one that will no doubt last a lifetime!

In the day and age we live in, there will be more Tommy Jordan’s. There will be more Susan Boyle’s, Judson Laipply’s, and “Happy Huffman’s”. Their stories will be different, but they will go viral. Those who are just ordinary people, living out ordinary lives, not seeking notoriety will become the heroes in our viral world.

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0 thoughts on “Going Viral: When Ordinary People Become Heroes

  1. David Nichols

    This is for Mr. Tommy Jordan,

    Dear Mr. Jordan,
    I have seen the video and I along with a few million others want to tell you “WE SUPPORT YOU 100% FOR THAT”! It appears before long, we all are going to have to take up arms and bring morals and American values back into this country!
    As I said “WE SUPPORT YOU”!

    Sincerely,
    David Nichols