The Tipping Point

by Scott McLemee on January 4, 2007

warbler.jpg This YouTube video of our calico cat and a wind-up toy bird has had just over 9,000 hits. My wife initially put it up expecting that just a few friends would take a look. At some point, it went from a few dozen hits to several thousand. For the past couple of months, it has been poised to break the 10k barrier, but lost a lot of momentum somewhere along the way.

This is where you can help.

Besides, it seems like time finally to do my first CT post of 2007, and it was either this or something about the late Seymour Martin Lipset‘s place in the history of the Shermanite faction following its departure from the Workers Party. A tough decision. But I find that the video does not actually decrease my will to go on, so here it is.



tom s. 01.04.07 at 8:50 pm

Sure I’ll help. There you go, 9473.

I too have you-tubed an animal video — of some odd caterpillars on a small tree in our front yard — also to share with family etc. A few months later it had received 160,000 views. I think someone put it on a list of creepy animal videos or something.

On the one hand, this is nice.

On the other hand, the audience is so much larger than anything I’ll ever achieve for anything else I do — all that stuff that takes sweat and toil and years of study — that it is kind of depressing.

For anyone who wants to see some throbbing caterpillars (but watch Scott’s cute kitten first!) the link is


DonBoy 01.05.07 at 12:21 am

It’s stunning but true: anything on YouTube gets thousands of views. I’ve been bloggng crappily and intermittently for over 4 years, and my 8 YouTube videos, in the last 3 months, have gotten between 5 and 10 times as many views as my total lifetime blog hits.


David Sucher 01.05.07 at 1:32 am

Where do you get that bird?


Scott McLemee 01.05.07 at 9:11 am

I believe the toy bird was a gift. The packaging gives the brand name as Bird Songs in Motion (manufactured by Takara USA Corp.) and indicates that it was created in cooperation with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Thanks to everyone who’s had a look. It got about 500 hits in under a day. Our hope is that it becomes a craze in Japan at some point, boosting the numbers another tenfold.


David Sucher 01.05.07 at 10:03 am

Thanks. (For anyone else interested, I googled “Bird Songs in Motion” and there it was: the American Goldfinch for $11.99; and there is also the Eastern Bluebird, for connoisseurs.)

Your video is a big hit among my friends, both feline and human.


rachel 01.09.07 at 1:08 pm

You know, I might not have watched the video if it didn’t feature a cute cat (and, for the record, 99% of cats are cute). I’m a sucker for cats. Hell, I might even watch The O’Reilly Factor if it had a cat, and definitely if it had a cat in place of O’Reilly.

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