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Going viral is something most online content creators dream of. Just like real-life viruses, there are endless amounts of videos, images, GIFs, and articles lingering around our digital environment, just waiting to touch, infuriate, entertain, or inspire that one person who will share, post, and rave about it. This can easily escalate to regional or global proportions. Let’s take a look at the experience of going viral.
La Guardia (not the airport)
Yes, that’s his real name. La Guardia is a rapper, songwriter, vocalist, producer, graphic designer, speaker, and online video producer. He considers himself a visual person and sees video as his most effective means of expression and he used it to showcase his artistic pursuits to a small audience. That’s when his daughter Amalah was born. For La Guardia, becoming a first-time father was the natural thing to explore next in his videos. However, nothing could prepare him for what was coming his way.
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With only a year of video production experience under his belt, La Guardia launched himself to produce weekly chronicles. Armed with Adobe Premiere, Photoshop, royalty-free music and sounds, a DSLR camera, and his cellphone, La Guardia dedicates anywhere from 10 to 25 hours per week shooting, writing, editing, rendering, and posting new episodes of New Father Chronicles. The New Father Chronicles are packed with quick cuts, quirky sound effects, and simple visuals that bring good laughs to its viewers in only two to four minutes per video. La Guardia explained that staying creative week after week wasn’t as difficult as some would think. “New parenthood wrote itself. EVERY week brought something new.”
The Birth of an Online Community
It was when La Guardia started taking notice of followers giving themselves fan club titles like #TeamAmalah that he knew something bigger was brewing among his online followers. “People starting responding to Facebook posts with pictures of their own kids. That was pretty special. I wasn’t the only one sharing anymore. Seeing them open up and share their families with me as well was amazing.” He describes his nearly 60,000 followers across social media as, “an online family. They come back, they share with others, they talk to me, I remember them, we have inside jokes…it’s a true community. It’s a huge part of the success of New Father Chronicles.” La Guardia posts a daily update, Monday through Friday, and after posting, he spends the rest of the time in the comments section, interacting with his followers.
The Cuteness Virus Spreads!
One random morning La Guardia recorded himself beatboxing with his daughter and posted the nine-second video titled Daddy Daughter Beatbox. As with all his other videos, La Guardia monitored the amount of views the video got. The numbers just kept growing! Suddenly, other people began downloading the video and reposting it without giving credit to La Guardia or his YouTube channel.
“This was supposed to be a bonus video in the weekly series that I posted on an off day. My branding was off from my usual content and I suffered because of that. The video went much further in its stolen reincarnations than it did on my accounts. I reported the first few, then gave up over time when it expanded on Vine and Instagram. I KNEW it was viral when I started receiving emails from companies asking to license the video and media outlets asking for permission to air it.” La Guardia and Amalah had officially gone viral. “It felt amazing to know that so many could enjoy a moment shared between my daughter and I. I also felt a sense of validation for the kind of content I was creating.”
Life After Viral
The success of New Father Chronicles has been raved about on sites like Today.com, HuffingtonPost.com, NewsOne.com, Popsugar.com, Someecards.com, Buzzfeed, HLN (TV), RightThisMinute (TV), and Parents.com, and has opened doors professionally both on and off YouTube. “There are things in development that have the potential to build on what I started with NFC. We’ll see how they take shape and I’ll always keep my online family up to date.”
The new season of New Father Chronicles recently kicked off in early 2016. For La Guardia, season one was an experiment and season two is the result of that experiment. “It’s the journey of my daughter and I together. It’s more about capturing both of our perspectives, than just a father’s silly take on parenting.”
La Guardia doesn’t plan to post YouTube videos for the next 17 years of Amalah’s life, but he does plan to continue with the series, experiencing every phase of fatherhood, and letting the series naturally evolve in content, title, and even the medium through which it’s presented. He expressed the gratitude that he feels for this project, saying that it’s helped him learn to balance being a husband and a father.
When asked what he would define as his formula for going viral, La Guardia said, “I would much rather find success by doing something that comes naturally than constantly being on a treasure hunt. My formula is to create what I enjoy and pay attention to my online family.”