Defining a Viral Video: A Halloween Story

What does it mean to have a viral video? Does it need to have thousands of views? Does it need to start showing up on Facebook pages, in blogs or all over Twitter? Or does it simply need to engage YOUR audience in amazing and exciting ways?


I think that a viral video can be defined as anything that excites or motivates an audience and gets them talking.


This Halloween we (Montclair Kimberley Academy – @mkacademy) had such a video.


Each year we during the Halloween assembly at our Middle School student and teacher move across the stage in our auditorium to show their costumes and put on a little show. The faculty at each grade level will try to coordinate their outfits and this year we have the X-Men, hula dancers and other clever outfits. The teachers that stole the show were our fifth grade team.


Seeing them in the halls and in the auditorium  before the assembly it was hard to get what their theme was until the music started when they were on stage.



It all clicked and the kids, teacher and administrators went nuts! The school was abuzz for the rest of the day and I, along with a few others, began to try to find people who had good video from the performance. For the next hour or so the video was edited and posted on YouTube and Facebook.


For the rest of the day you could hear the song coming from classrooms and offices as everyone relived the moment.


As the day went on we also watched the numbers and comments grow…. 20 views, 90 views, 180 views, 301 views… 10 comments, 23 comments, 56 comments. We had a hit on our hands and less than 24 hours later we had over 1330 views, 92 comments and 89 video likes.


Now you be thinking that this doesn’t sound very viral. Derryfield has over 4470 views for their “DSBaby” video and the New Hampton School as a hit with their “Never Say No to the Husky: Pay Attention in Class”, not to mention the thousand of other viral videos that are on the Internet.


Hence my question… what does it mean to have a viral video?


I would say that you need to look at a few things. How does the video relate to others that you’ve posted? What is the engagement like both on the page (comments/likes) and on other social channels? What do you hear people talking about online, tweeting in emails and the halls?


Our number look like this less than 24 hours after the video was posted:


  • Views: 1,334 – second highest to a video post three years ago
  • YouTube Likes: 89 – highest amongst videos
  • YouTube Comments: 92 – highest amongst videos
  • YouTube Shares: 4 – highest amongst videos


  • Views: 1992
  • Facebook Likes: 32
  • Facebook Comments: 10
  • Facebook Shares: 20

However you want to define a viral video I would say that the one this you want to look at is how it engages with your community because when it comes to school the best thing you can do is build school spirit and our 5th grade teachers did just that!

William Stites

William Stites

Director of Technology at Montclair Kimberley Academy

Director of Technology for Montclair Kimberley Academy (, "Blogger in Chief" for, consultant for Educational Collaborators, husband and father of two crazy boys. All that and still trying to find time to write and share as much as I can with you here and at