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YouTube, My Uninvited Dinner Guest

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Image via CrunchBase

Every dinner party I throw or gathering I host, my guests end up gathered around my computer, vying for elbow space as someone looks up a video on YouTube.

This preponderance could be a result of my poor cooking skills or boring conversational tendencies, but I prefer to think of it as a trend that is happening across dining rooms in the world as social media furthers its impact on our lives.

With politics being too polarizing, reality television getting old and the news being almost exclusively depressing, YouTube has established itself as the savior-topic for social gatherings in my household.  Have no fear, YouTube is here!

Last Saturday night, the featured videos showed delusional children and weird animal behaviors, both boasting huge hit numbers. Other evenings have showcased funny droid spoofs of husband and wife scenarios, hilarious sports bloopers, and occasionally we have sat through videos that their children have uploaded.

According to their site, YouTube receives over 2 billion hits a day, and the average person spends fifteen minutes a day surfing their network – my dinner guests clearly among them.  Since my fifteen minutes mostly occurs when friends are showing me things, that translates to a lot of people spending boatloads of time on this site.

I’m told that besides its amusing and iconic videos, there is also a huge catalog of useful how-to videos on YouTube that teach people things from how to speak french to installing counter tops, so the popular site serves a useful purpose.

My personal experience has not been particularly positive – I have searched the site very rarely, mostly before going to a concert when I want to watch the band’s videos.  If it’s a popular song by a well-known artist it is usually the first thing that appears.  If not, I may end up watching Betty Sue plucking out her acoustic version of the song, or a llama giving birth to a squirrel, you never know.

To find an illustration for my point, I just searched for “Phoenix” on YouTube, and the first featured video was indeed Phoenix, the band, but the other featured videos on the sidebar were named “Tips and tricks on how to save money on printer ink” and “I PEED ON IT SO IT’S MINE!”. The search engine seems to spit out random videos that have nothing to do with my search criteria, and it annoys me.

In fact, my experiences with YouTube are similar to my experiences channel surfing during daytime television: extremely rarely do I find something worth watching, and mostly it saddens me about the state of humankind.

But for all of the misadventures and crap that is on YouTube, there are irrefutably diamonds in the rough; creative and brilliant missiles produced by amateurs on a budget of zilch, or hilarious moments of everyday life caught on video.

This is the stuff good dinner parties are made of.



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  1. January 18, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    Haha! Glad to know mine is not the only family sharing chuckles over silly web videos! Oddly enough, my MOM is the ringleader in our family YouTube obsession. She manages to find the funniest or most absurd things and we all have no less than 3 e-mails from her by noon!

  2. January 18, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    Great post, Deanna–you dinners sound fun! Yes, you’re right, the world is sad place at times, so we need the laughs–the connection humor offers. Sorry, I’m getting to this post so late–it’s been a crazy day in Haiti–there may even be some YouTube videos about the developments!
    Take care,
    Kathy

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