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Two Yalies and their meta-viral video

What's the formula for creating a viral YouTube video? Well, combining elements from 30 of the most popular videos of 2012 can't hurt. Last month, Michael Rucker ’07 and Peter Furia ’04 posted “Rewind YouTube Style 2012,” a video featuring over 30 YouTube sensations who drew millions of viewers in the past year—including South Korean pop star PSY, whose music video for “Gangnam Style” was the first YouTube video to be seen over 1 billion times. Furia and Rucker’s video garnered roughly 10 million viewers in the first day it was posted in December, the most first-day views of any YouTube video, and had over 50 million views a week later. (It's up to 78 million as of today.) 

“Rewind YouTube Style 2012” pays tribute to the “most epic moments of 2012 that happened on YouTube,” says Furia, who is the head of strategy for Seedwell, a company that creates viral videos for advertising purposes. Rucker, a YouTube product manager at Google, says the video became so popular because the various YouTube stars involved each Tweeted about and promoted the video within their respective fan bases, making the project a sort of case study in viral video. For instance, the comedy duo Smosh, featured in the video, tweeted at NASA about a scene involving the Mars rover landing, and NASA responded. 

The alums’ interests in viral video stem from their days in Pierson College. Furia and Rucker met in Fall 2003, after Furia’s song “Pierson College,” which has Master Harvey Goldblatt speaking to the tune of Chingy’s 2003 hip-hop single “Right Thurr,” played at Pierson’s annual Inferno dance party. Furia also produced a song called “BK2Nite” about meal swipe restrictions in the Berkeley dining hall after it began serving organic food.

Furia has just one problem with “Rewind YouTube Style 2012," a consequence of their parody of the Harvard baseball team's wildly popular "Call Me Maybe" video. “I still have a box of Harvard T-shirts rotting in my office that I need to throw away,” he says.

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