Life-Saving Video Goes Viral, Gets Press Coverage

Last week, I got a direct-message tweet from Amber Smith (@AmberSmith), a reporter from Syracuse, NY. I had met Amber previously (because of Twitter) and we have interacted via Twitter, and she was tweeting because she had seen some chatter about one of our Mayo Clinic videos being among the most-tweeted videos on Twitter. It’s about continuous chest compressions, a kind of CPR that doesn’t involve mouth-to-mouth.

I have embedded that video below, but here’s the link to the in-depth story Amber did for, as well as the sidebar about the viral phenomenon with this video (most of the nearly 3 million combined views as of this moment have been from a copy the Arizona Department of Health Services uploaded) and a post with more links to relevant research papers on Amber’s personal blog.

This story is another example of both Thesis 9 and Thesis 33. The original video was produced as part of our Mayo Clinic Medical Edge news program for television stations, and the story ran in 2008. Now, because of the power of social media, it has gone viral, which has led to more mainstream news coverage, which will undoubtedly increase the YouTube traffic. And as a result, more people who are untrained in mouth-to-mouth CPR will be aware of the continuous chest compressions alternative.

I hope you will take a couple of minutes to watch the video above, and also to read Amber’s story. Then I hope you will share this post (or the video) with your friends via email, or Facebook, or Twitter, or however you like to spread the word.

Two Kinds of Viral Videos

I got a request from Jason DeRusha of WCCO TV to shoot and upload a video talking about some of our videos at Mayo Clinic that have “gone viral.” So here’s a little discussion of the two basic kinds of viral videos we’ve had:

Here’s the blog post on Sharing Mayo Clinic where we embedded the video of the Cowans. You can see other highly viewed videos on our Mayo Clinic YouTube channel.

I will update this post later with some more details, but mainly want to get the video available for Jason.

Update: Here’s the story Jason ran. My video submission was mentioned briefly at the end.

Viral Video Case Study: Mayo Clinic’s “Octogenarian Idols”

This is not a post about “How I created a viral video and you can, too.” It’s simply a story that I think you will find interesting, and from which you can learn. Your mileage will vary, but there are some worthwhile lessons for anyone interested in using social media from a business perspective.

At Mayo Clinic, we have been actively exploring and adoption social media tools. We did our first podcasts in September 2005. We set up a Facebook fan page in November 2007 and our Twitter account in April 2008. We’ve been actively uploading to our YouTube channel for a bit over a year, and have developed several blogs over the last 18 months or so.

We took a major step in January by establishing Sharing Mayo Clinic, our culture blog. This gave us a place to publish feature stories that don’t fit in our news blog or podcast blog.

With that as background, here’s our first viral video story:

On April 7, 2009 I got an email (a few of them actually) alerting me to a charming video featuring Marlow and Frances Cowan, an elderly couple from Ankeny, Iowa. The Cowans had been recorded doing a piano routine in the atrium of our Gonda building in Rochester. I thought it was fantastic, so I decided to embed it in Sharing Mayo Clinic. As of that time, the video had been seen 1,005 times since being uploaded in September 2008. By the next day, it was up to 3,805 views (click to enlarge)…

April 8
April 8

…and a week later it was at 26,973.

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