Getting the message out via viral video

I posted a video of a Rebound Rumble match on YouTube, and in a little more than three days it has more than 132K views.

There are tons of Rebound Rumble match videos on YouTube, but I don’t think many have received this many views.

What is it about this video that made it go viral?

Is it exceptional robots? No, the robots in the foreground of the video scored zero points during the entire match! The distant robots scored 45 points – pretty good, but not great and pretty hard to see, even if you switch to HD and use a large monitor.

Was it the unique camera angle? Maybe, but I had posted numerous matches (with much better performing robots) from the same camera angle after 10K Lakes regional and they didn’t get nearly as many hits.

My thought is that it was the exceptional Human player performance of three baskets out of six attempts.

What can we learn from this? My thought is that the ‘general public’ doesn’t appreciate the phenomenal accomplishment of building a robot that can play basketball. Think about it, we have phenomenal machines all around us, starting with the phones on which people are watching this video. To the public, a bunch of strange looking machines playing basketball is weird, but not enticing enough to send a link to the video to a bunch of their friends or post it on facebook. But a kid throwing three balls 58 feet to score baskets is.

The Morgan Freeman promo video (which I linked to in mine, but only after it already had a bunch of views) has 47K views. Why is my video more popular than all the other terrific match videos and Morgan Freeman’s video?

What can we do to make similar videos that effectively spread the FIRST message?

My video:

Dumb down the message we initially send.

This isn’t even a joke. Dumb down the initial message, make it more attractive, get more people involved, and then once they get into the program, they’ll get the whole message.

  • Sunny G.

Actually I think its more because the NBA playoffs are going on and it depends what people have been searching for on youtube. “Championship” has a lot to do with it plus whatever tags you have. “Rebound” and “tournament” too.

I don’t know how it happened but it is pretty cool either way!

Trying to manufacture a “viral” video hardly ever ends up with a good result. I know that’s not really the intention, though.

Be advised that on a global site like Youtube, exposing more of the internet to something, well, brings the internet in.

Every time a video gets non-FIRST views and is posted on Chief Delphi, people start talking/complaining about all the bad/silly/etc comments and dislikes left on the video. You have to ignore the greater internet to some extent. :slight_smile:

I think it was more your choice of title & tags for the video. 50% of the comments on the video were along the lines of “I just saw ‘championship’ in the title…what did I just watch?”

No matter how it happened, linking to other videos that explain FIRST a bit more is really all you could do in this case.

Not that I’m trying pop your bubble, but I think it will be counted as a view just for having the page ref’d. Sorta like opening a door, peeking in, seeing nothing of interest in 2 seconds, and leaving without actually entering the room. I like the tag search explanation involving championship and basketball. Reminds me I ought to go back and check my CT regional machines video to see what’s happened there in the last two months.

There is a method to the madness.

Could you go into YouTube Analytics and post the graph that shows how long people stay on this video?

The comments on this video are rather disheartening.



I belive there is a growing problem on Youtube with automated spambots trolling new videos, leaving dislikes and comments. I had a simlar situation this season when I posted some match video, and in a few hours it had 25,000 hits, dozens of dislikes, and several obcene comments. There are commercial users of Youtube who do real business with their videos and get paid based on their number if views, etc., so I would think this kind of trolling would be a serious issue for Youtube.


They (coughDean Kamencough) also have to be careful about the “We’re better than athletes/artists/writers/celebrities/etc.” that sometimes comes across. They’ve done slightly better recently with the KAJ and, but I think there is still a mixed message getting sent out about the way FIRST views those people and professions.

They also need to really work on cutting out all the silly fluff from competitions, particularly during the opening and closing ceremonies and the unnecessary breaks between matches. I appreciate that FIRST tries to bring in speakers and such, but it ends up seeming like a waste. When I invite a non-FIRSTer to an event, I tell them not to show up until I know there will actually be matches happening. As for all the silly dance breaks, I get there has to be a cool down period during eliminations when teams are playing more frequently, but I don’t get why it happens during qualifications so much. Why is being ahead of schedule such a bad thing? This relates to promoting FIRST in that the experience portrayed in videos is very different than actual competitions. All the promo videos show them as being intense, action-packed events. The actual thing ends up being maybe 20% good matches (most of which come on Saturday afternoons), 40% boring matches, and 20% boring speeches and 20% kids acting like fools.

I don’t know what the real reasons are, but I would think being ahead of schedule too much is a bad thing. If you invite someone to come see your match at 2:00 and they show up and missed it by 1hr because of scheduling, that’s no fun for them. They just need better things to fill the gaps.

Not just that either. For the past couple years the Canadian regionals have almost always been ahead of schedule (Thanks Karthiks, FTA’s, and Volunteers). It has been more of the problem that teams dont get to their match because they think its at 2:00 when the match was actually played at 1:45 and they missed it, and are DQ’d.

Right, that too. We missed our practice match at champs even though we showed up 15 minutes ahead of time. Although them keeping to schedule is nice, we learned not to trust that to happen.

That’s easy enough to fix by letting teams know via pit announcements/sending people around to each pit to let them know that matches are running x minutes early and to plan accordingly.

I hate all the down time when it’s just because matches are being run efficiently.

The retention graph has a gradual mostly linear drop off in viewing from 100% at the start of the video down to about 30% when you get to the last 30 seconds of the match, it jumps up a bit there to 36% right near the end.

^ That result seems to confirm that standard match videos aren’t enough for getting the word out. You would have to either show off a massive video (think HOT’s high-scoring runs) or switch between angles often, probably both.

Not sure that would help much. I see a couple of problems-- First, the ‘standard’ way of posting a match video is to show just the match, and the final score. This is probably because that’s how TheBlueAlliance has always wanted it, to minimize storage requirements. For “in the know” FIRSTers, that’s all you need.

For someone who is totally new to FIRST (or maybe has seen a previous year’s game but not the current one) A raw match only video has no context. They don’t know the rules, the don’t have an appreciation for what is a phenomenal performance, etc. A basketball game where the points scored per minute per team is around 20-40 pts is totally foreign. What is considered an overly high scoring match? Until you see a few, you don’t know.

For the most part, all our match videos only really appeal to ourselves-- notice that whenever you show a match video to someone who hasn’t heard about FIRST, you spend a bunch of the match explaining the game and pointing out which elements of the match are highlights and why. It’s not self evident.