By COLLEEN GAPUZAN
“Let’s give the people what they want.” Yeah, right.
On Dec. 6th, YouTube premiered its annual YouTube Rewind 2018. For eight years, YouTube has created a video memorabilia highlighting the videos, people, trends, music and moments that had major impacts on the media throughout the year. The compilation features cameos from every creator genre, including: lifestyle, gaming, beauty, comedy and animation. However, in less than a week, a massive wave of negativity has already given this year’s Rewind almost eight million more dislikes than likes. In fact, as of right now, the video has already been crowned the most disliked video ever on the platform, beating out Justin Bieber’s Baby music video.
At the outset of the recap, mainstream celebrity Will Smith begins by introducing this year’s theme: “Everybody Controls Rewind.” Ironic enough, the whole video fell flat, stirring much controversy due to its exclusion of many creators that were significantly involved during the year.
Essentially, one of the biggest factors that contributed to the video’s downfall was the absence of many popular YouTubers, such as Pewdiepie, YouTube’s most subscribed-to creator with over 75 million subscribers. Fans were enraged that Pewdiepie was omitted from the Rewind, along with other notable creators including Shane Dawson and Logan Paul.
During one of the scenes, the creators are gathered around a campfire reflecting and reminiscing impactful events that shaped the year. Despite the deliberate attempt to produce a heartfelt, cheesy spectacle, viewers criticized how most of the creators featured were irrelevant and should be replaced with YouTubers who are more recognizable, rather than focus so much on diversity. In an attempt to only showcase a little over 100 creators as opposed to last year when they showcased 250, more viewers were disappointed that their favorite influencers were shown for only a brief amount of time. Essentially, more people would rather enjoy seeing their creators featured multiple times, as opposed to only seeing the side of their noses for half a second.
Another factor that played an important role in Rewind 2018’s downfall is the redundant overuse of certain memes and trends such as Fortnite, which quickly developed into an extensive cringe-fest. In equivalence to its lack of many popular creators, Rewind failed to include various influential events that occurred this year. For instance, Shane Dawson’s highly acclaimed documentary series was omitted, as well as the Logan Paul versus KSI boxing match, to name a few. However, in spite of the disclusion of major events, viewers were still able to locate hidden Easter eggs drawn by JaidenAnimations that referenced the neglected Logan Paul fight and Pewdiepie. Regardless, the references did not come remotely close in compensating for the negligence of 2018’s most popular videos.
Discouraging enough, viewers claim YouTube keeps getting more and more disconnected from its content creators. If this year’s mediocre recap wasn’t enough, all it managed to do was add more fuel to the fire. Parallel to its creators, the deficiency of YouTube’s Rewinds have also produced massive disunion from its audience. Considering that their success is due to the support of their fanbase, it’s vital that the audience is engaged as much as possible. Counter to the recap’s theme of allowing the viewers to “choose what they want,” the exclusion of many significant creators and events further impeded its connection between them and their audience.
Contrary to its palpable unsuccess, many viewers were stunned by the implementation of cultural diversity throughout the video. YouTube showcased a wide variety of cultures and languages, signaling the importance of multicultural representation. Taking into account of how YouTube is not solely an English-speaking platform, the inclusion of global creators conversing in their respective languages made for a unique display of individuality.
Additionally, the recap emphasized various critical topics such as mental health awareness and women empowerment. Many creators spoke out exclusively, reflecting on the challenges and obstacles they overcame throughout the year. For example, YouTuber and engineer Simone Giertz expressed her gratitude for her viewers supporting her in midst of her brain tumor and sickness. Not to mention, vlogger Elle Mills makes an appearance, also having gone through various struggles in which she overcame anxiety and depression. Nevertheless, the approach that YouTube took to addressing these issues appeared more staged rather than genuine, leaving the audience dissatisfied with what was supposed to be a heartwarming reflection.
Sorry, Youtube Rewind, but instead of culminating your audience’s enjoyment, all you managed to do was culminate dislikes.
*2018 and our expectations have left the chat.*