Monday, January 26, 2015

The YouTube Gap

Getting older is confusing.

Sure, there are some delightful aspects of the aging process, such as fading pride and insecurity, but finding myself out of touch with young'uns is unsettling.  Having a child of my own only magnifies the generation gap and I find myself more and more often mumbling the dreaded "kids these days", made popular by aging curmudgeons the world over.  

Things I've taken for granted as staples in my life are becoming obsolete.  For example, I recently realized that my generation is likely the last to be regular scripted television viewers, as most young people seem to prefer YouTube to the boob tube*.  

After Christmas, my 7-year-old son had a friend over for a play date and they spent a chunk of their time together watching YouTube videos on the friend's new iPod.  I listened in horror at their peals of laughter derived from watching a woman with the most annoying voice I've ever heard saying things that weren't funny.  When my niece visited last summer, she spent an inordinate amount of time trying to show me "hilarious" YouTube videos of outlandish gay men twerking**.  My own kid even prefers watching faceless people play video games to watching a scripted show on the Disney Channel.  

gratuitous photo of my kid since I had no other use for this picture of him looking confused

So, it's not only how they're watching that's changed - it's what they're watching.  And what they're watching is weird.  Maybe this is what it felt like for adults in the 50's when their kids eschewed the richly told stories of radio for flashy, gimmicky television programs.

Even worse than my confusion over this bizarre entertainment preference, is my jealousy of the top YouTube earners.  This article posted on states that the most popular YouTube account right now, based on earnings, is some lady opening toys and playing with them.  That's it.  That's all she does.  You never see her face, yet she earned an estimated $4.86 MILLION DOLLARS last year because people can apparently not get enough of looking at her hands unwrapping and playing with toys.  


Oh, wait.  I know why.  It's because I'm a rational human being who would never have considered the notion that millions of people would want to watch me open packages.  

I once made the mistake of clicking on a video of someone extracting a cyst.  More unsettling than the content (and YUCK, by the way) was the fact that this particular video had over five million views and ads embedded within. You can now literally make a living by popping zits on YouTube.  Let that thought marinate for a moment.

Three years ago today (what a weird coincidence!) I published a video of myself showing off my double jointed shoulders:  

That video has over 40,000 views to date and has garnered me 60 channel subscribers and weekly (often inappropriate) comments. I have ads on it, but I have yet to hit the pay threshold so I haven't seen a dime. I suppose I could make more videos to better capitalize on my flexibility, but it just feels wrong to further contribute to the pointless, time wasting abyss that is the bizarre side of YouTube. 

...Then again, I could use money.  Off to buy some junk to unwrap with my double jointed fingers.

* Yes, I used the term "boob tube".  It means television, you perverted whippersnappers.
**not at all hilarious.
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