YouTube: TV for short-attention spans

October 26, 2009 — by Kyumin Shim

When students, or anyone else, for that matter, need a good laugh or crave a romantic moment, but simply don’t have the time to watch a full two-hour movie, YouTube is a perfect remedy.

“If I’m doing homework, or I’m just really busy, I’ll stop and watch YouTube for 10 minutes then go back to homework,” said sophomore Clara Chao. “It’s a quick way to relax and get my mind off work for a while.”

A frequent “YouTuber” might recognize these popular names: kevjumba, happyslip, shanedawsonTV and nigahiga. These are some of the many popular stars of the Comedian Category on YouTube. Each star has different styles of videos; kevjumba uses a form of rant and speaks his thoughts in a re-enactment, or just talks to the camera on what seems like a one-on-one conversation. And this unique characteristic of YouTube videos allow “friendships” to be formed between the stars who are often just normal, everyday people and the viewer.

In addition to nascent comedians, debuting music artists such as davedays, gabebondoc or davidchoimusic can easily share their music instantly to the thousands of watchers around the world. The next day, people will be humming that song in class or listening to it on their iPods.

“I like listening to covers from davidchoi because it’s really interesting to hear a different version of a mainstream song,” said junior Yuning Yang. She likes listening to music online through YouTube than from the radio in the car because she can listen from the comfort of her home.

Many of these clips are between three to five minutes long and always provide the audience with amusement, laughter or even tears. Some clips seem like a regular series, like “smosh,” “whatthebuckshow” and “take180com.” All these clips have a title screen and a regular routine, evoking the sense of a real TV show in a condensed form.

What makes these YouTube clips different from regular TV is the role played by the creators. “ShanedawsonTV,” for example, asks viewers to submit comments on random questions of the day to interact with them. Take180com asks the viewers to give them ideas for new shows and in return, they receive a handsome prize of a laptop or iPod or any other popular gadgets.

With so much to watch, it’s easy to see why YouTube videos are highly addictive—the perfect mini-entertainment for people with short attention spans.

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