Sociologist Ashley Mears know the secret to making viral videos on Facebook. “It’s like a magic trick,” one creator explains. Literally.

“Many of the most successful people in the content-creation game on Facebook are magicians,” Mears explains in a video. “I think that that’s not such a surprise, because magicians are extremely skilled in manipulating people’s attention, which is basically what the viral video economy does.”

Mears recently visited the “new creative elites,” a group of creators regularly getting 100 million to 200 million views, which includes former jazz singer Anna Rothfuss and her magician boyfriend Justin Flom:

Rothfuss and Flom are among the 180 video-makers (or “creators” in the industry’s jargon) working with a Las Vegas magician called Rick Lax. They produce short videos timed to last the precise number of seconds that Facebook requires a clip to run to be eligible for an ad (this used to be three

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