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Posts Tagged ‘viral’

Photo: Raphael Alves via Washington Post.
Bored during Covid, an indigenous Brazilian girl started sharing her culture on TikTok, where she is Cunhaporanga_oficial.

Maybe I don’t follow all the right news outlets, but I hear about way more TikTok stories that are positive than negative. Today we learn that a 22-year-old from an indigenous tribe in the Amazon is teaching the world about her culture through playful TikTok posts [Cunhaporanga_oficial].

Terrence McCoy reported at the Washington Post, “In the middle of the Amazon forest, along the banks of the Rio Negro, a young woman in face paint was bored. The coronavirus pandemic had cut off the flow of visitors, further isolating this Indigenous village, accessible only by boat. So Cunhaporanga Tatuyo, 22, was passing her days, phone in hand, trying to learn the ways of TikTok.

“She danced to songs, dubbed videos, wildly distorted her appearance — the full TikTok experience. None of it found much of an audience.

“Then she held up a wriggly, thick beetle larva to the camera.

‘People ask, “Cunhaporanga, is it true that you really eat larva?” ‘

“ ‘Of course we eat them! Do you want to see?’

“The bug met its end (‘Mmmhhh,’ Cunhaporanga said), and a new viral star was born — streaming from the most remote of locations. Cunhaporanga’s home is a cluster of thatched-roof huts along the river’s edge, surrounded by nothing but Amazon jungle. The dozens of residents who live here are fellow members of the Tatuyo people. They paint their faces in bright red, wear elaborate feathered headdresses, live alongside squawking macaws that Cunhaporanga warns should not be mistaken for pets, and survive off whatever they can grow or catch.

“All of it is now a vivid backdrop for what has become one of the most dynamic and fastest-growing social media presences in Brazil. In little more than 18 months, Cunhaporanga has collected over 6 million TikTok followers, simply by showing scenes from her everyday life. To her, the activities she posted were unremarkable. But for her growing audience,they brought into sudden intimacy a world that could not have seemed more distant.

“Cunhaporanga offering a bowl of larvae to her family to eat: 6.7 million views. Cunhaporanga brandishing a tool used to make cassava flour: 16.1 million views. Cunhaporanga dancing on the pristine banks of the river — it’s still TikTok, after all — to a viral pop song: 4.1 million views.

“As social media reaches into the Amazon rainforest, one of digital media’s final frontiers, it is opening an unprecedented window into Indigenous life, clearing away the barriers once imposed by geography. For the first time, some of the planet’s most isolated peoples are in daily communication with the outside world without the traditional filters of journalists, academics or advocates.

“ ‘This is an important opportunity,’ said Beto Marubo, a member of the Marubo people, whose village just got the Internet and is already going viral. ‘The Brazilian people don’t know Indigenous people, and from this lack of information has come all sorts of terrible stereotypes like Indigenous people are lazy or indolent or unhappy.’

“The digitalization of Indigenous life is now colliding with some of Brazil’s most powerful political currents. President Jair Bolsonaro rose to power lamenting the size of Indigenous territories and advocating that they be opened up to business interests. … ‘Indians don’t speak our language, don’t have money, don’t have culture,’ Bolsonaro said in 2015 as he publicly plotted a run for the presidency. … ‘How did they come to have 13 percent of the national territory?’

“On one slice of that Indigenous land last month, Cunhaporanga — who speaks flawless Portuguese and considers herself to be fully Brazilian — was walking in the sun, TikTok on her mind. She wanted to continue to show her people’s culture but didn’t know how long she’d be able to. …

“ ‘It’s really expensive,’ she said, still unsure about how to earn much on a platform that’s often difficult to monetize. Some followers have donated a few bucks here and there, but not much. …

“She knows larvae are viral gold. Nearly every video of the squirmy little critters, which are harvested from an Amazonian palm tree and allegedly taste like coconut, brings in millions of views. But when she published that first video, they were, to her, just everyday food — as basic as flour or fish.

“She was stunned by the response: Within hours of the video’s posting, more than a million people had watched.”

More at the Post, here.

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Photo: Jonothon Lyons
Theater artist Jonothon Lyons as Buddy the Rat in a New York City subway. “Oh, a dude in a rat suit. Just another day in New York.”

What you need today — a day that even in the best of times can mean anxiety about travel or kitchen prep or argumentative relatives — is Pizza Rat.

Valentina Di Liscia and Hyperallergic explain what I mean. “The internet is squeaking with delight this week at a 23-second-long clip of a figure in a rat costume, complete with a long tail, whiskers, and mousy gray suit, dragging a life-sized pizza slice up the stairs in a New York City subway station.

“As surreal as it may be, the sight is intimately familiar to urban dwellers who remember video footage of a real rodent carrying an entire cheese slice up the platform steps a few years back. The strangely endearing, ubiquitous New Yorker became lovingly known as ‘Pizza Rat.’

“The man behind the very realistic mask in the more recent viral video [is] Jonothon Lyons, an accomplished dancer, theater artist, and puppeteer whose previous credits include the Blue Man Group, Sleep No More, and the Metropolitan Opera’s 2019 staging of Madame Butterfly. For his latest act, however, no tickets are needed. …

“Buddy the Rat, as Lyons has baptized his wiry-tailed character, brings the stage to the streets and the subway platforms: getting pets on the Brooklyn Bridge, showing off for Minnie Mouse in Times Square, and encouraging train riders to wear a mask.

“In an interview with Hyperallergic, below, Lyons tells us how Buddy was born and why he’s shaking up the performance art scene right now.

HyperallergicWhat’s the story of Buddy the Rat? How did the character originate?

Jonothon Lyons: Twelve years ago, I was working for a theater company in Portland, Oregon, called Imago Theater, and they have a show called Frogs, where we played big animal characters in masks. I played a frog, a polar bear, an anteater, and a penguin, but I never played a rat, and I always wanted to. In 2009, I made my own rat mask and went out in Times Square and ran around, put it up on YouTube, and it got around 70,000 views. It wasn’t gigantic, but it was enough that in the back of my mind I kept thinking, ‘I need to take this rat out again.’

H: I’ve just emerged from a rabbit hole of TikTok videos of you performing in the costume. They’re incredible, and they’re really resonating with people right now. How did Buddy go viral?

JL: I’m friends with this film director Todd Strauss-Schulson (Isn’t It Romantic, The Final Girls, A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas). I told him I had this rat character I’ve been wanting to do more with it, so we conceived of a little three and a half minute-long film.

“We shot it the week leading up to the election, in abandoned SoHo, as the windows were being boarded up — a very surreal and uncommon vision of New York. After the first night of shooting, a stranger had posted a video of me that got 1.7 million views that day. We wrapped up the movie, and over the next few days I started going out on my own and posting the content to TikTok and Instagram, and it really took off.”

Folks, I’m thankful for a whole lot of things today, but at this particular moment, I’m thankful for anyone who says they always wanted to play a rat! More at Hyperallergic, here.

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Photo: Thomas Jones
Hafod Hardware in Rhayader, Powys, Wales, has a story to tell about generations working in a family business. Its low-budget, Christmas advertising video has gone viral.

The Holy Grail of many small businesses is a video ad that touches people in such a meaningful way that it goes viral. I am not sure if going viral necessarily generates a lot of business, but it definitely generates attention.

Consider, for example, this hardware store in Wales. Unless you lived nearby, you would not actually be able to shop there regularly. But I think that after seeing this video, you might go out of your way to buy something one day and take a selfie.

Copied more or less from the style of a department store giant with a huge ad budget, the ad has managed, on a shoestring, to draw a large following. According to the Guardian, that’s because the small family business has a real story to tell.

Stuart Heritage’s report starts with the department store. “This year’s John Lewis Christmas advert, in which a dragon tries to kill several people then holds up a pudding, reportedly cost £7m [$9,190,300] to make. And that’s fine. It’s a good advert, and John Lewis has a reputation to uphold, and you can’t really put a price on the half a morning of vaguely duty-bound Twitter buzz it generated.

“However, by no means is it the best Christmas ad this year. That plaudit now goes to Hafod Hardware, a tiny independent family-run hardware store in Rhayader, Powys, whose ad cost just £100 [$131.35] to make. …

“A little boy wakes up. He brushes his teeth, eats his breakfast and goes to work. He opens the shop, fixes a broom; he cleans the counter and restocks the shelves. He serves a customer, does a bit of accounting, serves another customer. At the end of the day he switches off the light, bends down to pick up a Christmas tree and – PLOT TWIST! – he’s actually a 30-year-old man. The strapline comes up: ‘Be a kid this Christmas’. …

“The advert is being hailed as a celebration of traditional Christmas spirit, the strength of the independent, and the importance of community. … [But] while it’s impressive that the shop has only spent £100 on the ad – and that was to pay for an engineer to record the song on the soundtrack – it still manages to crib pretty heavily from the John Lewis playbook. There’s a kid. There’s a tree. There’s a slowed-down cover version of a well-loved song. …

“But let’s not be too mean-spirited. The fact is that the Hafod Hardware advert packs an almighty punch, because of the history of the shop itself. It has been open since 1895, fending off competition from bigger companies with every step; and it’s a true family shop, passed down through the generations.

“The grandfather in the advert is the nephew of the founder, the man at the end (his son) runs the shop with him and the little boy could feasibly grow up to run the shop after him. Any old idiot can get a kid to sweep up a shop, but the magic of the ad is that it shows the real flesh and blood lineage of Hafod Hardware. It’s the beating heart of the community, and has been for years. No amount of money can buy that.”

If you were making a video for your business that you hoped would click with a large audience, what would you put in it?

More at the Guardian, here.

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