The Remarkable Simplicity In “Trending” YouTube Videos

This picture taken on January 27, 2010 in Paris shows the internet homepage of the YouTube website. AFP PHOTO LOIC VENANCE (Photo credit should read LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images)
It is as easy as you think.

A 1000-degree knife? Really!?!?!?!?!

Casually popping into my YouTube subscription box, under the new section of “Trending” videos, I saw my first ever “1000-degree knife VS.___________” I’ll admit, it was pretty cool. (And no, I’m not an arsonist, before you question it). But soon enough, with the first video clocking in at over 60 million views, people started to hop on the bandwagon. Over time, though still mildly entertaining, the 1000-degree knife videos lost relevance within a few short months, and dissipated into the abyss known as the YouTube platform.

As you may already know, this isn’t the first time this has ever happened, as the explosion of popularity, following by the gradual decline of so-called “trends” appears everywhere, such as the vlogging or gaming community to name but a few. Another novel example? The original bottle flip.

Such a simple, elegant concept that has spread across the internet for who knows how long. For those of you who have been living under a rock, the original bottle flip was conducted by Michael Senator, a high school student who had no idea what to do for a high-school talent show. Immediately after, his one video took flight, even attracting the eyes of Stephen Colbert, who invited him to the Late Show to show his “technique”. If you would like to see his interview, I’ll leave it here.

Over the next few months, hundreds and hundreds of videos were made with the same concept, and yes, some were better than others. All the big time YouTubers you know and love got on the bandwagon, and it still goes strong today.

Let’s answer this question first: Why get on the hype? Do content creators really find enjoyment in flipping bottles endlessly for 15 minutes? Well, I can’t speak for everyone, but I’ll tell you one thing: It gets views.

For those who don’t already know, YouTubers hold actual professions, they make money online through posting content. Now not everyone can earn money this way, as there is a lengthy process. YouTube channels are monetized, meaning that they exchange cash from YouTube with the popularity they receive. From there, content creators have to link their channel to advertisements, which is where a bulk of the money comes from. The more views a creator gets, the more times an ad is viewed to the public, and the more money YouTube (and the creator) makes. It is a win-win situation, right? Right?…

Unfortunately, the hunt for views and ultimately, popularity and wealth can be the thing that drains the interest out of good content. The best content on YouTube is often credited to be so unique that it cannot be repeated again and again. This not only makes it attractive, but also long-lasting. On the other hand, it is often the overuse of a trend that crashes it down, and drops it out of popularity. It is simply a fact of life: people always crave something new, something fresh. Finding your own style and content within the YouTube realm is what gets popularity, and while YouTube algorithms and unfriendly search bars often can help you get onto the map to start, it is your own creativity and content that starts it. Doing things that haven’t been done before is what creates interest, and trust me, even the most mundane and mindless things that you can think of receive exponential growth. It is similar to a single dot of yellow in a whole sea of blue, seemingly insignificant, but noticeable from the farthest distance.

So go ahead, find your inspiration, something that has never been seen before. And trust me, if a person can count from 1 to 100000 in a single video, I am sure that you can find something that will catch the eyes of the viewers. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be the next superstar I see in my “trending” box tomorrow.


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