The Attributed Meme – Matthew McConaughey reacts to the new Star Wars trailer

I’ve been watching the mash-up video made by Óskar Arnarson where Matthew McConaughey reacts to the new Star Wars trailer. Simple idea, overlaying the Star Wars Teaser that hit a day before over a scene from Interstellar. I’ve had some time today to think about the nature of sharing things on social media. I’ve written down few idle thoughts on it.

Óskar might not have been the first, there are couple of videos with similar premise made before Óskar’s video. But this one hit, because of timing and execution. And boy did it hit.

When I first saw the meme it only had few hundred hits. Over 150, definitely under 300. I posted it later in few groups on Facebook and then tweeted it out even later that day.

Since then the video has went viral. It’s been covered everywhere. Like, herehere, here, and here. It also made the front page of Reddit for a time. Having amassed well over 4.200.000 views when these words are written.

Putting the fact that it was not 100% original idea aside, the video actually is made with great artistry. My guess is the scene was to short or did not match completely so with a little bit of editing magic, cutting in and out of the trailer Óskar has made almost a flawless piece of mash-up art. Almost.

I’m sure there are few moments in the video when Óskar bangs his head and curses the gods he did not spend a few more minutes on the editing. There is an editing mistake very late in the video where the black square for the video overlay lingers a tad too long. Why do I call it a mistake, it’s because it’s jarring.  It pulls you out of the immersion. But it’s beside the point and doesn’t take anything away from the video. It’s still playful and full of joy.

And I’m in no way saying he should pull a Lucas and go back in and re-edit the trailer. The mash-up is perfect as it, warts and all.

For the first time I can recall a meme has been widely attributed to his maker

But it would have been so easy for Óskar to lose ownership of his mash-up but I have to say I feel what he did to stay connected to his creation has been played well so far. Just by adding his Twitter handle (@oskararnarson) at the end of the video he made a strong claim to his creation. It’s pretty clever really, it makes it harder to rip off and pass off on your own youtube page although I’ve already seen copies of the video on other accounts where the handle has been edited out. What Óskar probably could have done was to take it a one step further and overlay his social media ident  over the whole video. That would have made the accounts posting his creation either have to blur out his ident or recreate the video entirely. Both require a minimal skill in video editing and would be a gatekeeper for a big chunk of these re-posters.

Already the hyenas have started to post the video to their own youtube accounts. But it looks like the brunt of the traffic is going straight to the original video. It was interesting when I was looking around almost all who posted the video to their own accounts had disabled the comments. They want the traffic, but know they will get harassed for stealing other people’s content. Which tells us they know all too well what they are doing.

When I posted the video to Twitter I did it attributing his twitter handle with it

When I did it I was not seeing all the love the mash-up was getting. I was not jumping on the bandwagon, crediting the maker. And to be honest I don’t credit makers nearly as diligently as I should, as we all should. I did it, because lately I’ve been having this inner dialogue with myself about the free culture of the internet and why we don’t recognize the makers. These things are usually done for fun, for the sheer joy of making something that makes the viewer laugh, think or add to an online conversation. Why do we so eagerly divorce the maker from his creation?

Few times I’ve made something that has gone the social media round and very early seen my association stripped from it and then encountered it down the line where it has totally been divorced from me. It doesn’t write, doesn’t call back… It’s like we don’t know each other anymore.

Óskar has so far played it perfectly. He’s been active on Twitter thanking people who share, honestly expressing his joy of how the mash-up has been received. I belive that plays a big part in how well he has managed to lay claim to his video.

Anyway, like I said, this is all just idle thoughts. What I really have taken away thinking about this today is that I really should be more mindful on social media, thinking about who made the thing I’m about to share and attribute as best I can.

Do unto others…

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