Written by Technology

YouTube: Different Things to Different People

There have been a few stories kicking around about YouTube’s end of year “Rewind” video. YouTube has been making these for a few years, and they’ve grown to become big-budget affairs.

But this year’s video is seemingly the most “disliked” video in YouTube history.

Now I should say upfront that I have not watched this video. Because frankly, the part of YouTube it represents is not how I watch YouTube. Of course I’m well away from the 15-24 demo that this video perhaps is targeted towards, but that doesn’t mean I don’t watch YouTube. I would say that it’s probably my go-to video streaming app. I might watch it in my browser; perhaps on my phone; but definitely on my TV via my Nvidia Shield TV.

I’m not saying that teenagers don’t watch larger quantities than me, but I suspect that the Venn diagram of my YouTube viewing and those who’ve taken the time to dislike the YouTube Rewind video looks something like this.

Using proper notation, A ∩ B = Ø.

But what this doesn’t really show is the size of the universe of YouTube videos. YouTube has 1.9 B users a month, and they’re not all watching the same videos.

Put that another way. Last week ITV aired the series finale of I’m A Celebrity… and over 11m people watched it. But 56m watched any TV last week. 

In other words, 4 out of 5 TV viewers didn’t watch I’m A Celebrity… That’s not to belittle a sizeable TV audience, but to point out that just because you and all your friends have been watching, it doesn’t mean that the entire population is watching.

Scale that up to the rest of the world and YouTube, and you begin to realise that YouTube for a Rewind-featured YouTuber is very different from YouTube for, well, me.

I’d love to know what the combined 2018 views of all the YouTubers featured in the Rewind video is as a percentage of all the video views on YouTube in total. I’d be willing to bet that it’s relatively small.

As for my viewing habits? I’m watching tech review videos, Global Cycling Network videos, innumerable tutorial and how-to videos and so on. I’m not watching vlogs or anything with a clickbait-y title. I’m also not watching a great deal of music, whereas others are watching an enormous amount of music. 

Different folks, different strokes. 

I bet your viewing habits are quite different from mine.

So when I read these stories about how disliked a video is, I think that there are lot of people who are in a big bubble of their own design and that it’s largely because devoted followers of a big YouTuber who posts the odd link to nasty right-wing sites, was not invited to participate in something YouTube uses to celebrate the platform and so his fans took revenge.