The unseen sides of YouTube

Everyone that has a YouTube account and watches videos on the platform sees a particular part of the site that is tailored for them based on their viewing history, which leaves an incredible amount of videos that the account user will never see.

This doesn’t mean that the way YouTube recommends videos for it’s users is bad, far from it. I would much prefer to see recommended videos similar to those I already watch rather than random videos about something I can’t understand or have no interest in.

With that said, a combination of YouTube’s algorithm to recommend videos and everyone’s own personal interests equals what I like to call YouTube’s set menu.

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Starter: Your second and third interests (channels, genres) that you dip in and out of.

Main: Your main channels that you consistently watch (specific genre).

Dessert: The channels that are new to you, but are similar to ones you currently watch. Every now and again you’ll give one a go just to see what its like.

Tea/Coffee: All that random stuff you watch at 3:00 am.

To make this a little easier to understand, let me tell you about what I watch on YouTube. So, my main course is simply the channels I watch most. I have my favourites like Zerkaa, Miniminter, Powerful JRE (Joe Rogan Experience) and Joe Delaney. To a lot of you, those channel names might mean absolutely nothing and you might have no idea what their content is. If that is the case then you can already understand what I’m saying about YouTube.

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PowerfulJRE YouTube Logo

Zerkaa and Miniminter are part of a group called the Sidemen and they post videos of challenges, games and vlogs. PowerfulJRE is better known as the Joe Rogan Podcast. Joe Rogan is a famous and opinionated UFC commentator that brings both recurring and special guests onto his podcast to talk MMA and also a lot of strange and random topics. And finally, Joe Delaney is a fitness YouTuber that travels and shows his experiences in a frank and honest way. Anyway, those channels are my mains.

My starters, which aren’t necessarily the first videos I watch, are generally videos of other podcasts or fitness videos that are recommended to me frequently. Channels like Maxx Chewning, David Laid and Ballervisions are the type of channels that feature here. I don’t watch anywhere near all of their videos but I do enjoy the odd one, usually when I have some spare time for browsing.

The dessert is always tempting. Everyday, there is a new channel that pops up that has similar content to channels I watch regularly and they have a considerable amount of views and followers. While I always feel like I will probably be interested in the content, I am normally apprehensive about clicking on the videos, mainly due to the fact that I don’t want to over-saturate my YouTube account with the same content. Occasionally, these videos will get a watch when I’m starting to lose interest in other channels and would like to change things up a bit.

Last but not least, the tea/coffee. I always say to myself that I’ll be finished watching videos at a certain time but on occasions I get so caught up in videos that I question myself like, “what am I doing?”. The majority of people can get caught up in what they are doing, like in a restaurant where you are enjoying the company and conversation so you order a tea or coffee to stay a little longer. For me, these videos are usually sports or music compilations that take up so much time that I lose hours of sleep without noticing until it’s already too late.

YouTube’s set menu works just fine for me. What I watch is based on the amount of free time I have and what I’m in the mood for. YouTube gives me what I want and that’s perfect for me. However, I had a moment of realisation when I saw my girlfriend watching make-up drama videos that had hundreds of thousands of views. Despite being an active user of the video platform, I am completely oblivious to channels that have millions of followers and there are videos with over a hundred million views that I have no idea about.

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I realised that YouTube has so much content and it would be impossible to know about everything on the site. Every 30 seconds there are over 60,000 hours of video uploaded to YouTube. Every second there is over 2,000 hours uploaded. Those are crazy numbers. Now it might be easier for you to see how easy it is for people to be completely oblivious to different genres even existing on YouTube.

If you think about what people are interested in and what their hobbies are, you can almost guarantee that there are YouTube channels dedicated to them.

PewDiePie is the biggest channel on YouTube with over 67 million subscribers. PewDiePie a.k.a. Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, is a 28 year old from Sweden who began uploading videos of himself playing games and now uploads a variety of different content primarily of himself talking to the camera.

A lot of the highest subscribed channels belong to the world’s most famous pop-stars like Justin Bieber, but how many people from Europe or America know that two of the top five most subscribed channels are Indian and Brazilian music video channels. In the music world on YouTube there are of course the artists who have their own channels, music compilations, music quizzes, reactions, dance tutorials, dance freestyles, covers and probably some other categories that exist and I haven’t a clue.

For every one popular video on the platform, there is an endless number of reactions to it. Reaction channels are how a lot of people are starting their channels these days. It’s easy to put yourself in front of a camera and record yourself watching another video, hence why there is an overflow of reaction channels. These videos are so popular for start-up channels because people can react to anything, and they do.

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DramaAlert YouTube logo

A type of genre similar to reaction is drama. The biggest drama channels on YouTube, like Drama Alert which has over 4 million subscribers, generally talk about the news involving the biggest YouTubers and their mishaps. Of course, there are drama channels that focus on smaller groups like fitness, gaming, make-up, celebrity, etc. Once again these genres can be broken down even further.

Take fitness for example, there are bodybuilding channels, powerlifting, fitness tips, routines, running, individual sports and many more types of content. With all of these videos there comes drama. People get added and dropped from sponsorship deals, there are different fitness groups that people either like or can’t stand and there is always accusations of steroid use to make sure drama never ends in the fitness community.

Gaming appears to me to be one of the biggest, most followed genres on YouTube. Gaming might have been one of the first to explode considering people have always played and communicated online, so to branch off to YouTube may not have been too big a jump. There are thousands of gaming channels on the platform, some dedicated to one specific game, like Fortnite, some gamers play a number of similar games and others play random and funny games. Many YouTubers that are famous now, like KSI, began their YouTube careers gaming before the platform and their fame took off.

One genre of video that I had no idea existed until a few weeks ago is food, more specifically, mukbangs. Mukbangs are videos where a host or hosts record themselves eating while interacting with the audience. Obviously there are videos of people preparing food or showing their recipe tutorials but I didn’t realise that people recorded themselves eating.

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Mukbang, photo: hercampus.com

I mean, I can imagine someone putting up a video of this because there’s videos of all sorts on YouTube, but I was so surprised to find out that these mukbang YouTubers had hundreds of thousands of subscribers.

The first time I watched a mukbang, I have to say I was entertained. This might have been down to the fact that it was new to me but still, there was something to it. Some YouTubers only eat one specific type of food like seafood for example, that’s it. Amazing. They found their dreams jobs, eat on camera and get paid for it, what a life.

There are thousand of videos of this sort with millions of views so this is not unique to a few creators.

Another huge community on YouTube, which isn’t really surprising, is beauty. Considering how huge make-up is in everyday life especially for women, it comes with little shock that there are YouTube channels dedicated to make-up tests and tutorials that attract millions of viewers. Let me be clear though for anyone who isn’t too familiar with these videos. They are HUGE. Many beauty channels, which generally are fronted by one single person, have millions of subscribers with several having more than five million and others like Jeffreestar and Zoella having over ten million.

Beauty obviously entails everything about a person’s look, so make-up, clothes, hair and shoes. There are endless possibilities when it comes to these channels especially as make-up companies are constantly churning out new products and fashion changes all the time so there is no end in sight for these channels. It also wouldn’t be a large community if it didn’t have its very own dedicated drama channels and according to my girlfriend, there is A LOT of drama.

Some people, more so older generations might see YouTube as nothing but a bunch of weirdos and from some of the things I mentioned that people watch, that might be the case. However, we are all a bit weird and YouTube just shows us what people are doing in real life. Anyway, back to the point I’m trying to make. For those who would like some “nicer” content, there are family channels, daddy daughter channels, relationship channels etc. These channels are more about relationships and showing the positives of family life and enjoying one another’s company.

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The EhBee Family channel has over 7 million subscribers

There are more vlog channels as well so you might find a channel that interests you. Vlogs can be made by anyone, what I eat in a day and what I do in a day are some examples of topics in these videos. People who vlog can be seen as friends to the audience because they allow viewers into their lives.

Basically everything that you have ever heard someone talking about, you can find videos about it. How to make things, how to design a kitchen, how to talk to girls, how to feel better, how to breath better, how to live longer. Any feasible thing or question that pops into your head will probably be found already on YouTube. As I’ve already mentioned, there are over 2,000 hours of video uploaded every second so to even get through everything you like might be impossible, never mind all of the other videos.

I can’t mention all the types of videos in one article. Not because I don’t want to, but because I definitely don’t know them all. I know there are some of you silently screaming at me because I haven’t mentioned someone or some genre so let me know if there is a new channel I should watch or genre I should dip my toe into. Also, the next time you log on to your YouTube account, take a look at your recommendations and think about the set menu. You might find that it relates to what you like to watch.

 

 

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