Hey there! Say hello to cat videos and babies biting each other fingers to the tune of a billion views. Yep! That’s billion with a B. These videos are incredibly stupid but for some reason you guys keep watching them. I strongly believe that as we continue to advance in technology we just put our brains on autopilot, sit back, and let the stupidity take over.
Take for example this video (How Animals Eat Their Food): http://youtu.be/qnydFmqHuVo
Funny? Not really. Engaging? Most definitely not. Can I get my almost 90 seconds back please!? I found this video while doing research for the blog post and the reason why I think it got that many views is for one basic reason; we live in an era where stupidity is rewarded and unfortunately, seen as “cool”.
Can I just blame YouTube for democratizing the medium/platform for which this insane lunacy is freely shown? Maybe there are more factors at work here.
“The premise of the “passive” audience at the mercy of a dominant broadcast media industry is fundamental to some of the most influential discussions of how user-created content represents broader social and cultural transformations.” Jean Burgess, “User Created Content and Everyday Cultural Practice”. in James Bennett and Niki Strange, eds., Television as Digital Media. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2009. pp. 311-328.
So the “sheep” aka the passive audience have no choice but to succumb to the largest video platform in the world? Or do the social and cultural transformations refer to the generation (Gen-S for Stupid) that is now growing up in this era where this is acceptable as entertaining or engaging or an abbreviated SMS word?
I do think they’re sheep but at the same time I think this generation chooses to be that way. They don’t care about thinking or anything of substance which is incredibly sad.
To wrap this up on a positive note: I strongly believe that user generated content can be information or engaging or entertaining or all three. I do believe that well thought out writing, directing, producing, and acting are still fundamentally crucial. And the good news is the platform is there for those who really want to take advantage of it and not just put up mindless nonsense for the masses.