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The Popularity of 'Reaction' Channels on YouTube

Since the Fine Brothers found YouTube fame with their ‘React’ series (Kids React/Teens React/Elders React/etc.), it seems that channels dedicated to reacting to other media has become prolific on the platform.
By reaction channels, this would entail the channels that merely watch/listen to films/tv/music and react to them as they watch – not offering productive commentary, merely just watching and giving subjective opinions as they watch.

Investigate what makes them so popular, is it because they are found genuinely entertaining? Is it because people enjoy having their opinions on a show/album/movie confirmed by someone else? Is it the charisma of the presenter that matters? Is it merely ‘easy’ content to create so it appears to be everywhere because it is just accessible for many creators?

Perhaps an article on this topic could look into the criticism of this video content – it has often been labelled as bottom-tier YouTube content, unoriginal and uninspired.
Some creators begin their careers with a reaction channel, then use the audience they gain from this to then transition into other content creation. Why is this type of content perceived so negatively despite being so popular amongst viewers?
Another angle to pursue could be what the artists’ response is to their art being used for someone else’s monetary gain through reaction channels. Do they, and the platform they upload to, disapprove of this behaviour, does it breach copyright laws? Do musicians/film makers/video game creators like this kind of publicity for their work, does it boost profit or encourage a new fan base?

Can parallels be drawn between reaction channels on YouTube and, say, young adult fiction in literature or reality tv in the television industry? That is, within any industry there exists a hierarchy based on public opinion regarding what is ‘good’ and what is ‘bad’ within that medium. Is reaction YouTube just another example of that? A guilty pleasure genre, perhaps?

I realise this is a lot of ideas thrown into one, so an article on this could be selective in which angles it chooses to pursue, however, ‘reaction’ channels are arguably a cornerstone of YouTube creation, and an article exploring this and its affect on the YouTube community would be an insightful read.

  • I think this is a very interesting idea. Speaking personally, the reason why I like the Fine Brothers' "React" series is the personality/charisma/character of each reactor, especially those who are unafraid to go against the public opinion by, for example, liking/disliking something that is overwhelmingly disliked/liked. Though, I've always wondered about the dilemma of using someone else's art for monetary gain, not only from a legal but also from an ethical standpoint. Even if copyright laws aren't breached under the doctrine of Fair Use, it still seems, in my opinion, morally ambiguous to profit off someone's work. This is especially the case when one is deriving profits from the arguably passive act of "reacting", as opposed to providing constructive criticism like reviews, for example. It might also be interesting to draw comparisons between reaction channels and the realm of YA fiction. At least in my own experience from being a semi-avid reader of YA and regular watcher of "BookTube", I feel as though there is a herd mentality that causes readers to feel guilty and/or ostracised for their reading preferences if they don't align with the general public opinion on which books are "good" or "bad". – Marcus 1 year ago
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The phenomenon of seven-second videos.

Whilst video platform Vine has closed down, its legacy of short Internet videos has remained. Investigate the popularity of these short videos. Why are they so popular? What makes them popular? How can a short video reach success – what needs to be included within the short video to make it successful? Is this medium preferred over longer YouTube videos, for example?

  • A good topic to think about. I think it's worth putting some attention on how the popularity has informed modern humor. – kerrybaps 1 year ago
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  • I agree. I've always wondered why short videos has been popular lately. Not just videos, they have different challenges too. I'd love to explore. – bp2020 1 year ago
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  • Actually, a good topic. With the incredible number of videos out there, why do certain ones go viral? The Andy Warhol, 15 minutes of fame quote can be examined here. I think that by just focusing on the few that have a significant number of views is not the way to approach anyone writing on this topic, the focus also needs to be on videos that receive very few views and how or why they are different. Sometimes, it may have nothing to do with the video but that someone sees a certain video and pushes or recommends it. Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point, addresses this. – Joseph Cernik 12 months ago
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The Role of Social Media in Contemporary Politics

Recently, there has been a boom in social media coverage of political events. Politicians have been using social media to their advantage to build an image for themselves during campaigns. Analyze the role social media plays in influencing audience perception. How is this trope being harnessed by politicians today all over the world? What are the moral/ ethical dilemmas (if any) associated with this free and easily accessible tool for shaping public perception?

  • The essay could take topical examples from various democratic and autocratic regimes to analyse the role even influencers or some people with vested interests can play in ensuring a positive or negative word of mouth about a certain regime. – Dr. Vishnu Unnithan 12 months ago
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  • The title is very broad and needs a subtitle to give it focus. A great deal has been written on this so the angle taken becomes important. – Joseph Cernik 11 months ago
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The New Frontier of Creativity: What

As social distancing measures have left us stuck in our homes, those that create and share art on YouTube, Instagram or other platforms have never had more time to add more user generated content to the never-ending mix of digital media. Plus, consumers this content have never had more time to scroll through these self-proclaimed artists’ creations. Now more than ever, with more and more people turning to the Internet both to produce and consume art, it is worth figuring out how to interpret, sort, and evaluate this type of art.

I’m not going to suggest that all Instagram or YouTube content should be considered “high” art. One of the trade-offs of total accessibility is that, while it allows anyone with Internet access can create and upload material that they believe is artistic, it is difficult to sort out the good from the bad, and the best from the good. After all, it’s not as though having a broadband connection is a viable substitute for having talent, something meaningful to say, and an original way to say it. For example, a video of someone showing off their dance moves on TikTok can be entertaining, but does it pose a topical question, provoke discussion, or relate to greater issues of society, truth, or beauty? Probably not. But where do we draw the line? When has “art” been achieved?

I believe the entire persona of “Poppy,” as she appears in YouTube videos, albums, and on stage, offers up avant-garde aesthetics and difficult-to-interpret cultural commentary. The videos she posts on her YouTube channel (made in collaboration with director Titanic Sinclair) are, to say the least, difficult to react to. In her debut video, “Poppy Eats Cotton Candy” (2014), she – as you might expect – wordlessly eats cotton candy; and in another, she says the words “I’m Poppy” for ten minutes, in a series of takes to camera. These videos may be perplexing, but they are oddly fascinating: they resist easy interpretation because, unlike most of the content uploaded by YouTube “personalities,” they seem to be more provocative than entertaining. Her work has the same theoretical value as “gallery art” – it contains layers of meaning, aesthetic appeal, and can be unpacked and analyzed to the same degree as any “high art.”

But should it be? Or should there be NEW set of critical practices/criteria that are reserved only for digital media?

    9

    Covers, Creativity, and Copyright: The Implications of Copyright on YouTube Covers

    An entire YouTube industry runs on musicians and artists creating covers of popular songs. As an avid listener of many such artists, I enjoy their covers; however, I have often wondered about the copyright implications. Since music/lyrics are the creative products of the original artist, are they technically protected from being remade into "covers"? Or is a cover seen as symbiotic with the original work, increasing the original work’s popularity/renown?

    I’d love to see an article delineate the copyright implications of YouTube covers and/or the relationships between the original artists and the artists producing covers.

    • It might be interesting also to compare the music/covers industry (which I believe is relatively restrictive) to other Art forms! Also I would love to know how different songwriters (both successful and emerging) view Copyright... As a songwriter I can't imagine most successful artists having a problem with emerging artists using their music to develop their audience/sound, CF their labels/managers shutting Youtube videos down.... – NedMortimer 1 year ago
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    • We seem to be in a wild west period of YouTube copyright rules right now! An article discussing fair use of music covers would be a good read. It would also be interesting to see how other types of videos(gaming, edits, etc.) are similar or differ from music covers. – MattWalker 1 year ago
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    • It is not uncommon to find other YouTubers using cover versions of original songs, I assume this is a loophole to avoid copyright issues. However, this practice creates a demand for song covers. This might be worth exploring within this article. – BoluBello 1 year ago
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    • Great topic. I'm just guessing here, but I suspect that the answer to both answers would be "yes." Songs are protected by copyright laws, and covers do help a song stay alive and relevant. My second guess (I'm not a lawyer) is that copyright laws might need to be looked at closely. It's possible that covered songs on YouTube fall in the category of "fair use," especially if they're not done for profit. – JamesBKelley 1 year ago
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    8

    The Importance Of Online Personality

    We’re always told that potential employers will look at your online platforms and turn you down if you don’t fit their image, but is this idea losing importance now that you can become your own employer using a platform like YouTube. Yes, it takes time and effort but it can be done. Write!

    • I think it's also worth mentioning the issue behind cancel culture and how it also plays an authoritative role in the formation of said online personality, for better and for worse. – Spinach 2 years ago
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    • I would love to write about this because I have just experienced the same thing, and it wasn't pretty. To think that not having a pretty online personality means you're a bad person is really jarring, but it's what people think nowadays – hnguyen1102 2 years ago
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    Web video celebrities

    What is it about YouTube videos that makes them more accessible and appealing to today’s inquisitive audiences? Why do people seem to prefer YouTube web video celebrities with little to no credentials or credentials in unrelated fields? Is it a matter of charisma? Confirmation bias? Laziness to read? A mix?

    • I like this idea. Are there any celebrities you have in mind for the topic or do you want to leave it open for the writer? – Emily Deibler 2 years ago
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    • Perhaps the ones in the tags? – Will Nolen 2 years ago
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    • Because tags do not show up when a topic is converted into a post, I would suggest possibly adding PewDiePie to the topic, so that isn't lost. That, or I suppose mentioning him in this note is sufficient enough. – Emily Deibler 2 years ago
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    • An important idea exploring an increasingly important medium. – proflong 2 years ago
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    • Oh ok Emily Deibler- wasn’t aware: so examples include PerDiePie, Joe Rogan, Jordan Peterson, and many others – Will Nolen 2 years ago
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    How will Disney change the streaming landscape?

    Disney launched earlier this week (11/12/19) and reportedly had 10 million subscribers in the first 24 hours of its availability. This number is expected to continue to grow over the next few weeks. How will the streaming landscape be affected by Disney ‘s release? What effect will Disney have on Netflix and the upcoming HBO Max? Will Disney push these companies out of the streaming business? Will Netflix and HBO Max be forced to adopt new strategies to entice customers? The article would speculate/analyze how Disney is changing the streaming landscape and business.