response videos

You know when you're watching a popular YouTube video, there's those videos in the sidebar titled "RE: The Video You're Currently Watching"? These are response videos, a feature YouTube created to allow users to create a simple video respose to an existing video.

And they're almost universally useless. Almost every response video I've come across looks like this:
Wow, I mean. I don't even know what to say about this. Watch this video. It's crazy! Can you even believe that happened? Yo man, watch the video for yourself and then tell me what you think in the comments. And uh, don't forget to subscribe.

And then that video gets 30k views, because people, after having viewed the original viral video, are so desperate to eat up as much related content as is available, happily click on these response videos. In sum, these videos are popular because humans are bored and stupid.

Take for example the recent Ted "Homeless Guy With The Golden Voice" Williams phenomenon, which might be the most rapidly expanding meme in the history of the internet. The super popular video generates responses like the following.

This first one is such a perfect example. A dumb teenager (all teens are dumb, chill out) in a dumb hat and a dumb bathrobe eats a dumb sandwich while recapping the most basic points from the Ted Williams video, that we all already knew about having watched the footage.

His commentary adds nothing to the story. It's not funny or thought-provoking. It's just there. And 3,000 people have watched it. Not a huge number in terms of YouTube traffic, but think about the fact that three thousand human beings watched this inane claptrap. Multiply this video by a couple million and you have a huge chunk of YouTube content devoted to stupid musings like this one.

He apologizes for eating his sandwich with, "You caught me at the wrong time," like it's live TV. Dude, you decided to make the YouTube video. You could have edited. RAGE.

Here's another. This one actually attempts to add an opinion. A stupid opinion, but at least it's a coherent thought.

Cool story, sis. This is the sort of sentiment that could have worked as just a basic video comment on the original video's page. Why create an entirely new video? No one wants to look at your face.

On to the next one, from Redneckpicker, a guy in a garage holding an energy drink.

He's actually got a few things to say, making him the cream of the crop in this content category. But still, why not just leave a comment rather than this super drawn-out video of you holding an energy drink?

Here's another. The guy offers the most basic assessment of the situation. "People make mistakes, but they deserve second chances." Cool platitude. *strokes chin*

Now here's a guy with a dream. "How cool would it be to hear [Ted] in an animated cartoon like a Nemo." What a neat idea.

Apparently he's some kind of internet marketing social media guru maven. You can always count on these vultures for some "value-added" contribution to the conversation.

The only reasonable use for these YouTube response videos that I can come up with is to have an actual intellectual debate, which sometimes does happen. People argue politics through response videos for instance, and while I'll never be interested, at least it's not this bottom-feeding parasitism that we see in the viral video space.

The problem is that creating an "um" filled video in your backyard demands so much more attention from me than a carefully crafted textual comment. Response videos are boring because they fail to capitalize on the medium's opportunities. Video is visual (duh), and your visual of you just standing there like a dope may as well be text.