At 5 million current page views for her two-minute "I Quit!" video, the world's most famous #Mizzou graduate Marina Shifrin has absorbed 170,000 hours of the world's attention. Valueing attention at $10/hour, that is $1.7 million--two entire decade's worth of value at $85,000/year, generated by spending two hours making one two-minute video and then distributing it over Youtube. That's $850,000/hour--that's a lot of productivity.
In some sense that is is the wrong calculation to do: if she had not made this particular viral video, those 170,000 global hours would have been devoted to paying attention to something almost as diverting--probably involving housecoats riding Roombas. You have to multiply by the work devoted to all of the videos that might have gone viral. And then you have to integrate all the way back from the highest-volume viral back to those with smaller audiences and down to those that simply amuse family and friends.
But if you were to do that calculation properly, you would conclude that Youtube is a mighty engine of user surplus and global economic well-being, no? Has anybody done that calculation?