Column: When Farmington goes viralWe as a society have become increasingly accustomed to a daily onslaught of videos of people we will never actually meet. We can hardly check our e-mail or scan our Facebook pages anymore without seeing a video of a sneezing kitten, a dog running into a wall or some unfortunate guy getting whacked in his privates, a home-video favorite since well before Bob Saget was televising crotch-related tragedies for all the country to see.
By: Nathan Hansen, The Farmington Independent
We as a society have become increasingly accustomed to a daily onslaught of videos of people we will never actually meet. We can hardly check our e-mail or scan our Facebook pages anymore without seeing a video of a sneezing kitten, a dog running into a wall or some unfortunate guy getting whacked in his privates, a home-video favorite since well before Bob Saget was televising crotch-related tragedies for all the country to see.
It can all start to feel like a bit much when you’re on the receiving end. When you’re on the other side, though? Well, that’s pretty sweet.
We found that out last week in our office. It was all thanks to a Farmington High School football playoff game, a kickoff and some of the stiffest winds Minnesota has seen recently that weren’t related to the current election season.
Here’s what happened: On Oct. 26 Farmington played Lakeville North in the first round of the section playoff. On a night when winds gusted to 40 miles per hour, the Panthers launched their second kickoff of the game into the air only to watch it curl banana-like back over their heads. Their net on the kick was 12 yards. Backwards.
We posted a story about the game online, as we normally do. Then we figured out we could get video of the kick from the Tigers’ video team. We posted that online and started telling people about it. We put it on Facebook. On Twitter. Someone submitted it to Deadspin.com, the organization best known to Minnesotans as the web page that demonstrated Brett Favre has no more discipline with his cell phone camera than a perpetually aroused teenager. And perhaps even worse judgment.
Things took off from there. Apparently people like video of windy kickoffs almost as much as they like videos of laughing babies. By the end of the day the video had been viewed more than 12,000 times. By the next day we had someone from Yahoo.com calling in search of the video. Their story appeared briefly on the site’s main page. And people kept visiting our web page.
The video was popping up all over the place. We got views from Yahoo, from Deadspin, even from someplace called prettygoodlutherans.com. Presumably they wanted to see the hand of God at work on the football field.
Things had largely died down by Monday, but by then the video had been viewed more than 30,000 times.
Watching the numbers pile up was exhilarating. It was nice to know so many people were paying attention to Farmington, even if most of them will never be back.
I don’t claim to understand quite how it happened. We all thought the video was funny, but it was hardly high-definition. You could barely see the ball until we added a glowing highlight like that awful dot Fox used to put on the pucks for televised hockey games. Apparently people really like unusual football plays.
We’re excited it happened, although it leaves us with a tricky situation. Our online viewing numbers have been pretty dramatically skewed for October. If we go back to normal in November, it’s going to look bad.
Clearly we’re going to need to find a way to repeat this situation. I don’t know what it will be, but I’m definitely going to start wearing a cup to work.