A while back, we posted “10 Videos To Watch To Understand The Culture of YouTube”, which included videos from the very personal to the instructional, from the artistic to the comedic, and beyond. Yet, there is so much culture to comprehend on YouTube that one post simply doesn’t do justice to the diversity found on the platform. So, we just had to do another. Enjoy:
MinutePhysics is one of many channels devoted to education on YouTube, and one of a few that use animation to describe complex concepts. This particular video explains why our solar system is flat. Other educational channels of note are: The Brain Scoop, SciShow, Crash Course, Veritasium, Vi Hart, and Vsause.
2. Seasonal Trends
Seasonal trends range from back-to-school shopping, to Christmas cookies and Valentine’s Day tutorials. These trends capitalize on the time of year and related search-worthy events to broaden the reach of a video. These can be cultural, like the Superbowl or Oscars, official, like Labor Day and Thanksgiving, commercial, like Valentine’s Day or Halloween, or even traditionally seasonal, with videos for Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall.
3. Web Series
A web series is like a TV series, only made for the Internet. They are generally thought of as serialized fiction. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is an Emmy Award winning web series based on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Pemberley Digital, the company that made Lizzie Bennet, has had two subsequent successes, Welcome to Sanditon and Emma Approved. FreddieW just broke crowdfunding records for season 3 of his web series Video Game High School, raising over $900,000. Squaresville has been incredibly successful as a hipster teen mumblecore series.
TAGs are integral to spotting YouTube trends. Some of them are brand centric, others are task based. TAGs often include asking questions of a YouTuber’s siblings or significant others. One that has been going around recently is the “TMI TAG” featured above. TAGs are popular video styles for Vloggers and Beauty Gurus.
These are videos where a well know task needs to be accomplished. They range from things like the Bean Boozled challenge, a specialty Jelly Belly box with different colored beans, some of which are good flavors and some of which are gross, to the Cotton Ball Challenge, where YouTubers take turns, blindfolded, attempting to scoop cotton balls out from a bowl to a plate on their heads. Another favorite is the tin can challenge, which requires YouTubers to buy canned foods, remove the labels, number the cans, and then draw numbers to correspond with the cans they will eat from.
6. Clip Compilations
Kisses, Tarentino scenes, best outfits, songs. Made from TV or movies. People on YouTube will make videos featuring their favorites and set them to music, or let the original audio tracks play. From the small time to the big time, everyone likes a good clip compilation.
7. Regularly Scheduled Vlogs
Personalities that built up their own brands and amassed their own fandoms through daily or weekly vlogging have shaped YouTube culture tremendously. They are major celebrities at events like VidCon and get recognized on the street. Many of these YouTubers are what people think of when pondering YouTube culture.
Austin Null, of the YouTube channel The Nive Nulls, recently left his job at Fullscreen in order to pursue being a full time YouTuber. He and his family recently switched to doing daily vlogs. The Shaytards, with close to 2 million subscribers, are a family that changed the vlogging landscape chronicling their family life, daily. CTFxC are also heavy hitters in the space, with over 1 million subscribers.
8. Collaborative Videos
This is a huge deal for YouTubers looking to professionalize or grow their personal brands. Working with other YouTubers is one major tactic for growing audiences. Tyler Oakley has been an expert at collaborating with other YouTubers, to the point where he has a whole playlist on his channel page devoted to them.
9. Movie Trailers
Fans upload them and re-upload them again and again. Official channels upload them. Fans re-mix them. Practically everyone shares them. Movie trailers have a long tail life on YouTube well beyond the theatrical release of the film. Fans can marathon through promo content for movies and get up to the minute new footage on YouTube.
10. Dubstep Everything
Rule 66 of the Internet: If it exists, then there is a dubstep remix of it. Seriously, you can look it up. It includes things that make perfect sense when dubstepped as well as plenty of things that honestly shouldn’t be dubstepped. People on YouTube will dubstep movie trailers, Voldemort’s laugh from Harry Potter, popular songs, Fur Elise by Beethoven, or even a remix of the popular YouTube webseries Video Game High School set to dubstep. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes you get comments like, “I love steak, I love cheesecake but I do NOT love cheesecake on my steak nor steak in my cheesecake!”
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