Late at night, you’re scrolling through your Youtube page, having a nice cup of sandwich on your lap, and you just can’t seem to find anything that interests you at the moment. You scroll further past your usual recommendations of Mr Beast building a house out of coffee filters, or whatever people watch nowadays, and you scroll so far you see something… disturbing. Something unusual. Something that makes you angry, upset, and confused. Something that so profoundly shatters your own comfortable conception of reality, that you just have to click.
The video in question: “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Was Actually A Bad Show, And Everyone Who Likes It Is Stupid” by mrcoolguy2009. Now you say, “But… I like The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, is this person saying I’m stupid? Well I sure don’t wanna be stupid, so I’ll let this guy, who’s clearly smarter than me explain to me why this show I like is bad, so I wont be stupid anymore!”
I mean, I know that’s not the exact thought process in regards to the psychology behind why people click these videos, But I feel like sometimes it’s supposed to be that way. It’s somewhat commonplace to use the ability of making someone feel as though they are missing out on something, by doing something wrong, or liking “the wrong thing”, just to either make people click over fear of missing out on the “correct” way of looking at things, or to garner controversy from those who disagree. Either way, it’s a pretty straightforward way to get somebody interested in what you have to say, by letting them know they’re “wrong” for liking something
But once people actually do click these videos after seeing the thumbnail and title, why are some so inclined to take this one lil person’s opinion as fact, and subconsciously give it a higher standard of credibility as opposed to when you hear a conversation in everyday life? Well, I feel like it’s more or less just the disconnect between being told an opinion via a real conversation, via flashy Youtube edits with big red letters and a graphic that has an arrow pointing at something, alongside its 300k views, so if a lot of people also read the same thing as you, sometimes people are just like, “Yeah, I guess it’s gotta be true, I mean why else did so many people watch it?”
In other words:
When you hear me say something stupid like “Drinking water is probably really bad for you, because eventually you’ll get water poisoning and die and your eyeballs will roll outta your head” or whatever, most people can easily go: “Yeah this guys an idiot, and I disagree with him because of this, this, this, and this,” and that’s a perfectly balanced system because you are the one deciding how you intake this other person’s viewpoint. But in the regards of an opinionated commentary video, there isn’t really too much back and forth between the creator who’s telling you his take, and “you”, who’s hearing it. You can’t just pause the video and say to the guy “Hey, maybe ‘Forrest Gump’, isn’t a bad movie just cause he walks past the same extra twice in the scene where he gives the speech”, you can only do that in your head and while using something known as your own common sense.
But with something being presented in such an official, and highly promoted format, with somebody who is only producing their argument through a lens in which no disagreements or personal criticisms can pass through for the entirety of said video, it seems slightly more futile to consider challenging this person on their take. I’m not saying it makes everybody seem objectively right all the time, I’m just saying with all these cards stacked in their favor, it makes people a just a little bit more inclined to believe what they say, even if it is based on some nonsensical nothingness.
So, I guess this article is pretty much just stating the obvious of “If you say something with enough confidence, and have a large enough audience, more people will take you seriously”, but with everyone (including my own)’s bias in everything they say, especially online, I’m just saying how I feel like it’s a little too easy to get caught up in believing/agreeing with words on a screen because of who’s saying it. So, I dunno, all I’m saying is; just take stuff with a handful of salt before giving into the worldview of “UncleFungus1941” over your actual peers and friends you know in real life.