Hardcore fans are strange. They’re both in love and at odds with the very thing they adore. So Star Wars fans will try to destroy the lives of the actors in the newer movies, people who identify as gamers will often harass the developers of the product they’ve built their lives around and so, despite the year starting off with a video of Logan Paul laughing at a dead body, the 2018 YouTube Rewind is now the most disliked video of all time, beating out Justin Bieber’s “Baby” which originally held the title.
We’ve covered the controversy in the past, but the crux of it seems to be the absence of certain YouTubers. Two that the fans have particularly raised anger about have been Logan Paul and PewDiePie, but of course YouTube would never feature them. They’ve went from being ambassadors to the power of the brand to icons to the outside world of why YouTube culture, and they’re “do anything for a click” culture is a problem — with one constantly being involved in a racist controversy, and the other having made a video where he films at a dead body and another where he tases a dead rat.
Shane Dawson should have been included though. I have a feeling he wasn’t due to either his criticism of the platform or that the audience of the YouTube Rewind, mostly teens, probably don’t care as much about his contemplative in depth docuseries.
Also, Fortnite? Come on.
But the exclusion stuff is not just why the fans disliked it. The reason the thumbs down clicks were so massive was because it represented the expanding gulf between how YouTube sees its brand, and how the people who make their living off the platform see it . The Rewind came a focus on celebrities being greater than that of creators of the era. Will Smith, John Oliver and Trevor Noah eclipse many of the creators who push the YouTube medium forward.
Still, with the year starting off with all of us gawking at a dead body courtesy of Logan Paul, this being the most disliked thing is kind of harsh, and we have to wonder what the video actually represents. Is it a clinical recounting of what the most popular videos were? Is it a glimpse of what YouTube thinks its culture represents? Should it be a celebration of the YouTubers, YouTube’s hopes for itself? Or both?
That’s the weird gulf between YouTube and its creators. Unlike any other specific medium, being a vlogger on YouTube involves the way you spread your art to be owned by a corporation, and like with any corporation, the corporation has its growth in mind over that of the people who work for it. It’s true for the bank, it’s true for any companies that had to commit to massive layoffs, and it’s true for YouTube.
This is different than say — publishing, where there are many publishing houses depending on what you want to do. The specific act of being the kind of YouTuber who films their life every day is tied to specifically to this platform, and the gulf between those who use it and the platform itself could result in a sea change sooner rather than later.
Where the pieces will finally fall, it’s hard to tell.
What do you think is the future of YouTube based on this Rewind video? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter at @WhatsTrending.