YouTube and I have a complicated relationship. I see the video sharing site as one of the most prolific venues for artists to share their work without publishers, managers, or millions of dollars. So naturally when I start browsing YouTube I expect to see poets and painters redefining the arts through uploaded video. Which will then with any luck usher in a modern day Renaissance. Instead I get this.
What you are looking at there is the phenomena known as a reply girl. After two minutes of research I discovered that reply girl’s essentially upload wildly irrelevant content, then find a trending YouTube video and attach their reply video with key marketing terms. Sounds pretty standard right? Well the kicker is that these “reply” videos are centered on the cleavage of said reply girls (see image right).
When the world holds a funeral for any sophistication that YouTube once had, reply girls will carry the coffin. In an effort to protect the world from this spreading virus, I will attempt to explain why reply girls are damaging not only YouTube but also social media culture in general. Perhaps they will realize the error of their ways and finally finish the third grade.
1. Reply Girls Steal From Legitimate Artists
Every successful YouTube artist from Freddiew to MysterGuitarMan has spent years and countless hours perfecting their craft. Their success comes from the dedication to use YouTube as it was intended to be, as a tool for sharing original content and art. Reply girls leech onto that content in an attempt to make a buck off of views and ad revenue. No real content is being produced, just an easy way to exploit the artwork of hardworking professionals. Reply girls are the Internets equivalent of that guy who sells knock of merchandise in the parking lot of baseball games.
2. Reply Girls Take Away From Good Feedback
In my extensive research of various reply girls I came across more than a few examples of incredibly awful ‘replies’ to videos that actually could have warranted legitimate feedback. One reply girl for example explains a Minecraft mod video as:
“They’re just talking about this level, and how you can make all… different things. How to build stuff and there’s more space to build stuff and stuff.”
I cannot even begin to explain all the ways that defiles not only human language but also any semblance of legitimate feedback. Not only has this wasted everyone’s time; it also has probably set the English language back 150 years.
3. Reply Girls Enforce Negative Stereotypes About Women On YouTube
As far as the top 100 YouTube channels go, it is primarily a boys club. There are already too few female artists on YouTube. Reply girls in a way send the message that the only way a woman can get views on YouTube is to be sexy or provocative. This type of attitude is extremely detrimental to artists like Jenna Marbles and Michelle Phan, who are reaching audiences through their skills and talents, not their bodies.
4. Reply Girls Ruin Recommended Videos
By tagging and searching for every popular video, reply girls take the spots of actual videos I would be interested in. Now when watching pretty much anything I have to deal with a thumbnail of some very confused young girls cleavage instead of something I would actually want to watch.
Now anytime I go to watch a YouTube video I look like a pervert. Thanks reply girls for limiting my video options and destroying any traces of hope I had left for humanity. Now if you’ll excuse me I am going to hurl my computer off a roof.