[Opinion] When Magazine isn’t the Only Thing We Can “Subscribe”

Niken Pratiwi Dwi Ritami

Whenever we feel like watching a cat playing the piano or Thailand emotional commercials, YouTube is always been our where-to-go. Strong Internet connection and no stuck buffering loop can keep us on the edge of our seat. This video platform that has garnered million of viewers has been our ‘escape’ from actually doing assignments. The new television for our generation.

Nowadays, traditional TV doesn’t fully satisfy our needs in both entertainment and education. As we switch the channels, outdoor music shows with multiple hosts or overly melodramatic soap operas with low-cost CGI keep coming up. Meanwhile, YouTube offers us a wide variety of selections. It covers our entertainment needs as human with different interests. We can watch anything we want–much better–we can play and pause anytime we want. It is our rule. We spend many hours in a day streaming on this global video-sharing website. Starting with our favorite band’s latest music video, then we see a link to another video, then another, then another, and before we know it, we end up on a video on how to talk with a giraffe. “Only one more then I will go to bed.” Familiar with that sentence? We all have said that. Every night. We are the visual-oriented generation where we find Internet videos are more relevant and enjoyable to our lives. Eventually, YouTube has replaced our 32” flat screen in our house. When we finally turn on TV, it is just so we have sounds in the background as our company to sleep.

According to a statistic research by Business Insider, 81% of U.S millennials stream YouTube. Another study shows that these young viewers watch YouTube 2.5 more than regular TV. Not only merely watching the videos, they become engaged with the contents by clicking “Subscribe” to the creators’ channels. We subscribe when we feel attached to a video content and start to be curious of the next upload–or most of the time because the creator is good-looking, though.

One of the most hyped trend I’ve seen on YouTube is watching other people playing games. Years ago, we play video games. Now, we watch video games! PewDiePie, the most subscribed star on YouTube, has 45 million subscribers, and earns $8.4 million a year for his game streams and videos. His foul-mouthed commentaries and striking reactions make people glued to the screen, watching each upload on his channel. People have their own aims in watching other people playing games from the other side of the world. Some see it to decide what game they should buy next, some stream to feel the experience of the video game itself without spending money on it, and some other just enjoy the skilled player’s commentary. Our parents have worried too much seeing us playing games a lot, I bet they may have been more worried seeing us sitting in front of laptop ‘watching games’ because when we play games, at least they see us practically doing something.

Besides watching people building a Minecraft world out of the blocks, watching other people documenting their daily life become widely popular. Vlogging, which is the abbreviation of video blogging, is the way people express their thoughts, opinions, or daily life experiences in the form of video content. It is like ‘upgraded’ way of conventional blogging. But, hey, do we realize that we did vlogging before it was cool? When we attend a concert or go on a vacation with friends, we, at least, record something about it. Only that we didn’t know back then it was ‘vlogging’. We keep it for ourselves and others who also involve instead of broadcasting it to the world. So, the idea of vlogging is not technically new. Even the first video to ever be uploaded on YouTube was its co-founder ‘vlogging’ his day at the zoo with elephant as a background behind him.

However, today vlogging has been all the rage in the world of blogosphere. I first found watching vlogs turns out to be so addictive when I started subscribing Justine Ezarik, a US-based female tech savvy who frequently do gadget reviews, unboxings, and daily vlogs. It is a gem to discover her channel for I finally dig on something different in the YouTube-universe full of beauty gurus. I never missed every time she announces her new upload. It is interesting to see how she honestly tells her opinions about a product without worrying other party’s interest, or to watch her daily vlogs which are not beautifully edited and how it makes teenagers feel related to a YouTube star daily life, which is not as perfect as it seems, and they start feeling better about themselves.

Our generation are fed up by scripted shows on regular TV. We find YouTube is more real than what’s produced for TV. For me, I would prefer to try a product or brand if it is recommended by a subscribe-worthy YouTuber than recommended by a movie star on a fake TV commercial. As we subscribe the contents, we look up to the creator’s personality. As the result, big-name YouTube stars taking traditional Hollywood celebrities’ role as public figure among the millennials. I believe if YouTube had a tagline, then it could be “Forget American Idol, sign up and be a star.”

References:

“Younger Viewers Watch 2.5 Times More Internet Video Than TV” written by Todd Spangler. http://variety.com/2016/digital/news/millennial-gen-z-youtube-netflix-video-social-tv-study-1201740829/

A statistic research by Business Insider. http://www.businessinsider.com/massive-share-of-us-millennials-stream-video-on-netflix-and-youtube-2015-11

“This is Why People Want to Watch Other People Play Video Games.” written by Rick McCormick. http://www.theverge.com/2014/8/26/6068993/this-is-why-people-want-to-watch-other-people-play-video-games

Word count: 880 words

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