2016 was quite the year for our modern world. Like any other year, it was full of major events, with elections around the world, entertainment milestones, and corporate affairs. However, YouTube is living in its own world, and their yearly recap video of the year, called the YouTube Rewind, is once, again, ironically showing off their world to the real world.
G’Day Mates! Before I get to the reaction, let me lay down a bit of information. Much like how appearing at the Oscars is an honor for actors, appearing in the YouTube Rewind is a huge honor for so called “You Tubers”, a variety of enigmatic personalities specializing in entertainment, sketch comedy, reviewing, and other professions. Some long time readers may remember an article I did back in July where I was critical of the previous YouTube Rewind, and criticized Todric Hall (YouTube musician) for saying that “TV is just going to be a thing of the past and everyone’s just going to watch YouTube”, which we all know how that panned out. News channel Drama Alert saw a lot of controversy at the beginning of the year for picking fights with all sorts of people (there’s really no pattern), and entertainment giant Fine Brothers Entertainment saw massive hits to their reputation after attempting to copy write several words and take ownership of “React” style videos, but it didn’t stop there. Later in the year, cynics LeafyIsHere and Pyrocynical took tons of heat for attacking younger members of the community, and all around manipulating the controversies that played out earlier in the year. If you wanted to, you could even throw Pewdiepie’s video where he said he would delete his channel too. I could go on, but if you didn’t before, you hopefully have a better idea of the situation YouTube is under right now.
Meanwhile, in the land of old media, TV has been seeing huge gains in the fan base, as hit new shows seem to be coming out every month or so. Drama-Comedy This is Us entered its first season this year, and already has 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is usually pretty hard to get. Some other new shows this year, No Tomorrow, Designated Survivor, Pitch, Speechless, and Westworld, all got above an 80% on the “tomato meter” (some of them above 90%), just to name a few. With that said, let’s talk about the actual Rewind video, if you can call it that. I have a hard time calling it a rewind, simply because I’m not seeing much reflection on the previous year. Sure, the Olympics got a mention, online trends “Damn Daniel” and “PPAP” got a slot, but not much else outside of that really got any screen time. To be honest, it was mostly just a grand display of vanity for the celebrities of the site to show off their dance moves, as that was the majority of the video.
It starts off with some of the stars wandering around in random places, but not before a random cameo by Dwayne Johnson. From there, we’re taken though several instances of travel, discovery, and dancing, like a less exiting version of Indiana Jones. I guess the theme is that they’re all supposed to be looking for some treasure that looks like the YouTube Rewind logo, but I really don’t know for sure. It’s honestly kind of confusing. I wish I could tell you more, but that’s pretty much it: they’re just dancing in front of different places, doing different things. The set obviously has high production value, but that doesn’t make it good video.
My biggest criticism of this 7 minute long “music video” is that it’s just that: a music video. It doesn’t seem to capture the essence of the title: YouTube Rewind. It would be so cool if they took a look as some of the most popular videos of the year, and had all the different personalities of the platform act out the famous scenes from them. If they did that for 7 minutes, hell even 5 or 4, then I would have no quarrel with this video. In fact, I would probably be making a post about how good it is. But even after you consider all of that, this is still sort of done in poor taste. With tons of strife and disorder developing on the site, the fact that the video was ultimately done “business as usual” while glossing over all the other problems they’re facing doesn’t resonate with people, including myself. It’s the equivalent of making a Nazi Germany Rewind, or a Titanic Rewind, neither of which draw appropriate attention to the problems that lie beneath.
After that being said, the second problem that most people seem to have with the existence of this video is that many of the most popular, but questionable members of the community were seemingly absent from the video, and replaced instead with lighter hearted, much more commercialized members of the community. Cameos by John Green and MatPat were appreciated on my part, as I consider the two to be some of the sites best critics and creators. Aside from that, the faces I saw in the crowd were virtually all unrecognizable: just pretty faces to show of in YouTube’s grand display of vanity, because if there’s one thing YouTube can do, it extols its virtues.
To finish it up with this last paragraph: I don’t have a problem with the rewind video, as much as what it stands for. Sure, it wasn’t anything spectacular or interesting, but the main and clearly underlying problem was the time in which it was done. It seems more and more every day, many of the celebrities the site birthed come to realize that YouTube is falling behind the times, but many of them are still happy to indulge themselves in the parade of egotism and self – admiration.
As a futurist, I can say that there’s a very high chance that someone’s going to come along on day, and replace YouTube: not by creating a site like YouTube, so they can all move over there, but by taking some creativity and building something new that works better than such a simple platform, where anyone can just upload anything they want.
Anyways, thanks for reading everyone! Want to make a comment about how much you enjoyed the article? But “Cam, this article sucked!” well then, what are you doing there complaining about it? Leave a comment, whether you’re a fan or not, and let me know (it really helps!). Once again, thanks for reading! I’ll see you again a few more times this month before we wrap up this year.
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