2012 was an incredible year for user-generated content, especially videos. Sites like YouTube and Vevo played host to some of the most diverse video content we've ever seen, created by everyone from professional film companies to amateur kids with camera phones.
The best viral videos of 2012 had a little bit of everything: They were impressive, inspirational and action-worthy. They made you scream, cry or laugh. They cast temporary spells over us, making us share them with our friends and family. And we obeyed. Boy did we obey.
We've compiled 16 of the very best viral videos from 2012, right here for you. Very little explanation is needed for each of these; just sit back and enjoy.
Eagles are majestic creatures, but majesty turns to travesty in a matter of seconds when an eagle confuses a toddler for a salmon. (Hate when that happens!) Don't worry folks, the creators of the video admitted it was fake; the damage was already done with 40 million views in the bank.
This guy Alex manages to play 100 of the most famous guitar riffs, one right after the other in a row, in a single take. He has a website that accompanies the video, so you can see exactly which chords he's playing. It is all incredibly impressive to watch for all 12 minutes.
A mostly-naked German guy wants to take a dip in the pool, but it's frozen! The results are among the most cringe-worthy of 2012.
This clever guy decides to shave his head and glue his hair together into a wig to fool his family and friends. The setup is nice, but the reactions from all his loved ones are absolutely priceless.
Do you know actress Kristin Bell? Even if you don't, the one thing you should probably know about this video is that she really loves sloths. No, I mean, she really. Loves. sloths.
Bus Monitor Karen Klein bullied by vile school children - 1,362,943 views, uploaded June 21, 2012 by ThinkTillDeath
This video is very hard to watch, but this brutal 10-minute clip was certainly "viral" in 2012. After this video of 68-year-old bus monitor Karen Klein getting verbally abused by a group of school children on a bus went viral, an Indiegogo campaign raised an overwhelming $703,123 to send Karen on a vacation.
President Obama thanks Rev. Al Green while campaigning in New York the only way he knew how: Through song.
An emotional President Obama thanks his staffers and volunteers after a successful Election Night, proving that not all politicians are robots.
This woman doesn't know what an iPhone 5 is. All she knows is that it's great and she wants it. This was the epitome of iPhone 5 mania in 2012, folks.
A viral video 20 years in the making allows a man to communicate with his childhood self. Very funny, but extremely clever.
This guy (see: jerk) effectively raises the bar on wedding proposals -- making it too high, if you ask me. That said, if you don't get a tear in your eye while watching this video, there's something officially wrong with you.
Felix Baumgartner's supersonic free fall from 128k' - 31,506,670 views, uploaded on Oct. 14, 2012 by redbull
With the help of Red Bull, Felix Baumgartner broke the world record for longest supersonic free fall from space, and live streamed his entire journey on YouTube. Even the 90-second highlight reel is exciting. Take that, NASA!
Reason No. 59 I will never visit Brazil. (Also see: Reasons No. 1-58, "spiders")
Nobody knew about Joseph Kony or any of his terrible crimes against humanity were it not for this video. Even though the leader of Invisible Children ended up flying off the handle (to say the least), this video, when it debuted, set a new benchmark for viral videos centered around causes. Not only was it incredible because it went viral in the first place, but it was incredible because it went viral and it was 30 minutes long. If you haven't seen it, just start it -- then try turning it off.
You know why this is viral. I really don't want to talk about it.
First of all, give props to Psy, who managed to not only pull off a mega international hit with an insanely ridiculous (but catchy and multilingual) song-and-dance routine, but he can also celebrate owning the first YouTube video with more than 1 billion views. Now that, my friends, is the definition of a viral video. And Psy defined 2012 with Gangnam Style. Even if you've seen it before, it's worth another watch.
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