December 21, 2012—”the end of the world”—is less than 48 hours away. For decades people around the globe have looked forward to the fateful day with nervous anticipation. But over the past couple of months something has happened to change all that, at least for online video enthusiasts. The end of the world has fallen by the wayside as anticipation for a new YouTube milestone has come riding in on its invisible horse—Psy’s Gangnam style is going to hit 1 billion views any day now and that has become far more exciting for many than the end of days.
Gangnam Style currently stands at just over 983 million views and, raking in an average of about 10 million views a day over the past couple of weeks it’s looking like the video is going to hit its milestone on, or shortly before…wait for it…December 21, 2012.
This wild coincidence does have some believing that Psy is riding an invisible horse of the apocalypse and that when the video counter changes from 999,999,999 to 1,000,000,000 it will trigger some sort of cataclysmic event that will lead to the ultimate demise of the human race. Some viewers have even drawn connections between the nine circles in the number one billion and Dante’s nine circles of Hell on earth. But when it comes down to it, most are just excited to see what YouTube’s view counter is going to look like when it hits that 10-digit mark.
NASA has debunked end of the world predictions and myths from the end of the Myan calendar to planetary alignments, polar shift, meteors and more and the Mayan people have demanded an end to doomsday myths. So when it comes down to it, the only end of the world we’re likely to see on Friday is the end of the world of online video as we know it.
Once Gangnam Style hits that 1 billion mark the world of online video will never be the same. Not only because, yes, we’ll know what the YouTube view counter looks like when it hits that 10-digit mark, but also because the current “ultimate goal” in the world of viral video will have been met and new standards will be set for every viral video to follow.
1 billion views is huge—way bigger than any YouTube milestone we’ve seen thus far, when it comes to individual videos at least. It would have been pretty big news if Justin Bieber’s ‘Baby’, which is the second most-viewed YouTube video of all time with 812 million views to date, had been the first to hit this milestone. But Baby has been racking up views for 34 months, since February of 2010. Psy will have managed to hit the amazing goal of 1 billion views in just over 5 months. That, my friends, is pretty freaking incredible.
For years, the world of online video has been on the lookout for the next Charlie Bit My Finger, Double Rainbow, David After Dentist and Keyboard Cat. Gangnam Style has blown all of these videos out of the water, racking up more views in a matter of months than these videos have accounted for in years, combined. Gangnam Style has turned the world of online video into a world where we just don’t know what to expect, and one where anything can happen.
So on Friday don’t be afraid—don’t hide under your bed or anxiously watch for incoming planets outside your window. Instead, head over to the Gangnam Style video page on YouTube with thousands (if not millions) of others and get your hand ready to refresh the page over and over and over so you don’t miss it when Psy makes the biggest news in online video history with 1 billion views.
Megan O’Neill is the resident web video expert here at Social Times. Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.