There’s no drama like YouTube drama


You’ve probably heard the old joke about how academic squabbles are so vicious because the stakes are so low. Academic pettiness pales in comparison to the nastiness of peak YouTube stars. The latest saga is a lot of vicious gossip between ‘famous’ people on YouTube who I’ve never heard of before and never watch, yet who make millions of dollars off cheesy videos that fans flock to. I don’t understand any of it, but don’t watch their videos, just read this article that summarizes “The New Shane Dawson-Tati Westbrook-Jeffree Star YouTube Drama”. You should feel content to say “who?” and just ignore them.

However, the deeper problem is either YouTube itself, or humanity in general. YouTube has cleverly boxed themselves in with an arcane self-reinforcing algorithm that rewards the worst people — think Pewdiepie, or Jake and Logan Paul, or Shane Dawson — who have no talent at all, no useful information, no skills except for self-promotion, and vaults them to the top of the charts and rewards them with buckets of cash. Furthermore, one of the secrets of success exemplified by the four I just named is pandering to children. Those four specialize in doing stupid shit as adults performing for kids and acquire hordes of uncritical followers as a consequence, and YouTube is a willing accomplice.

Stop incentivizing garbage, YouTube. You’ve got to realize that something has gone horribly wrong when you see the outcome of your algorithm, which seems to favor Nazis and pedophiles and, as always, no-talent hacks.

Comments

  1. jrkrideau says

    This sounds a lot like the Republicans and Democrats in action in the USA.

    A case of Art imitating Life?

  2. says

    It’s so much worse than even that. I don’t have kids (and avoid them on general principal), but I found a video about two yeas ago on you tube that was very enlightening. A you tuber named Fredrik Knudson who does really good short documentaries about weird internet phenomena did a video about the “Finger Family” song. I’m a bit too old to have heard this children’s song, but I guess it’s very popular.

    There are people cranking out videos that set poor versions of these public domain children’s songs set to videos just to scoop up the ad revenue from kids clicking on random videos for hours on end when the parent just gives their kid an I-Pad to shut them up for a while. If you want to see a video of the dollar store versions of Superman, Spiderman and a xenomorph dancing to the monkeys on the bed song then you’re lucky, it probably exists.

    They’re doing the minimum work to leach ad money from kids who don’t know any better. The YouTube algorithms create the play field, and these groups create algorithms to create videos to abuse those algorithms. They’re like gold mining bots in MMORPGs, only you don’t have to exchange the in game currency, you just get paid in cash.

    One of those times that made me realize the 21st century is really stranger than we all thought it would be. Things like that make flying cars look mundane.

  3. birgerjohansson says

    Jrkrideau nailed it.

    Pandering without ethics is disaster.
    (spell check altered it to Erics, which is strangely appropritate -put Eric Trump in charge o:f social media and watch horror unfold).

  4. blf says

    @3, Who is Jeffery Star?
    The similarly-named individual in the OP calls themself Jeffree Star, albeit they were apparently named Jeffrey Steininger.

  5. consciousness razor says

    Those four specialize in doing stupid shit as adults performing for kids and acquire hordes of uncritical followers as a consequence, and YouTube is a willing accomplice.

    Stop incentivizing garbage, YouTube.

    The hordes of uncritical followers are people who can choose not to watch something, if they think there’s something better to do with their time. The algorithm isn’t forcing them to consume shitty content, and it wouldn’t need to.

    It would be nice if they made it easier to search for specific things, with some more tools and more flexibility in how results can be collected/sorted/viewed/etc. As it is, I sometimes just don’t find what I was hoping to find, and that’s too bad. But it’s not like I need to click on any of the links coming from their bullshit recommendations. That way lies madness, as I learned many years ago.

    Anyway, the last thing I want is for mega-corporations like Youtube, Google, Twitter, Facebook, etc., to be encouraged (even more) to curate everybody else’s content. Who the fuck actually believes they would be any good at it? If you want the sort of sanitized, mass-produced, board-approved crap that will satisfy companies like that, then you already have the old-school publishers of television, movies, radio, books, newspapers, and all the rest. Both producers and consumers are certainly getting screwed that way. But even if you happen to prefer that more mainstream approach, as many do, there is nothing wrong with others who want to work independently of it.

  6. sparks says

    “Stop incentivizing garbage, YouTube.”

    Nailed.

    Don’t get me wrong: Lots of great stuff on Shittube. Lot’s of garbage though too. And sooner or later it must be landfilled.

  7. says

    YouTube reminds me of early 20th-century missives on the distance-learning potential of radio. “We’ll be able to learn Korean from the comfort of home!” But of course people just ended up listening to wrestling. This blog (which I’ve followed almost since the beginning) introduced me to some amazing YT content, though, so last year I decided to try my hand at producing YT content because I wanted to explain the Mueller Report, and because I wanted, in some tiny way, to show that I opposed the Trump Regime.

    I have never seen a PewDiePie or T-Series video and intend to keep it that way.

  8. says

    I will admit that I used to watch Pewdiepie (I must have been the only one to unsubscribe due to his antisemitism scandal.) When I watched him, it was almost exclusively for let’s plays. I think the last ones I saw were for Resident Evil 7 and The Last Guardian. The description of such content by PZ as being from someone “who [has] no talent at all, no useful information, no skills except for self-promotion” is nuts. That dude would not be successful if people didn’t like watching his videos, and people wouldn’t like watching his videos if they weren’t entertaining. When y’all were kids, and had to avoid the grouchy old people who didn’t understand what “kids these days” were into: that is what PZ has become. The cantankerous elder who cannot relate to the youth, probably because he has not actually bothered to investigate the youth’s said interest. Browsing some videos for a couple minutes in a shallow investigation of it is not enough to understand it; you’d have to actually sit through an entire series (Inside is a short one, for example) to get it.

    Although, perhaps PZ has investigated thoroughly, and simply does not get modern internet video humor, what with its specific, absurd comedic timing and ubiquitous non sequiturs…)

  9. karellen says

    YouTube has cleverly boxed themselves in with an arcane self-reinforcing algorithm that rewards the worst people — think Pewdiepie, or Jake and Logan Paul, or Shane Dawson — who have no talent at all

    Fortunately, I don’t think any of their videos have ever been recommended to me.

    I did get the new PhilosophyTube video – Charles Darwin vs Karl Marx – right at the top of my suggestions though, and it looks to me like he got a lot of the stuff about Darwin and the history of the theory of evolution pretty spot-on. I think you’ve linked to a couple of his videos some time in the past, so I am a bit curious about what your take might be.

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