Exploring my YouTube Comedy Audience (Part 2)
For the past seven years I have been creating content on YouTube, throughout this time I have experimented with many different genres and styles in order to find my voice. From parody music video to toying with special effects. Eventually, I have come to realise that uplifting comedy is really where I would like to leave my impression. However, making comedy videos on youtube requires one to have a whole new set of literacies. For example, on youtube the trolling community is quite large, I have received a number of hateful comments, something which I explore here. Jay Oatway explores this in his discussion about content creation, one thing that he emphasises is to first fully understand your community, to follow them on blogs and social media, in order to understand their expectations. To put it briefly, the reason that hate is often received is because the audience is receiving content that they do not expect. For example, my most disliked video is called “How to get money from vending machines”, when i look at the Youtube Analytics of this video, I am able to see that the audience mainly comes from the youtube search, which are people who legitimately believe that I’m going to show them how to make a buck. However, once they click on the video they realise its comedy and become quite upset, and revert to trolling. I explore this in more depth on my blog post here.
This whole dynamic is quite interesting, it is reminiscent of the Anonymous phenomenon that originated on fourchan. According to the BBC Documentary “How Hackers Changed the World”, the anonymous group has a very strong sense of community and understanding. One of the members while discussing the protests on scientology, explained that suddenly everybody who knew the same jokes as each other were coming together. Not only jokes, but the same set of shared values and culture. Thus, there was such a passion about certain acts of hacktivism which they conducted, such as taking down the Neo-Nazi Hal Turner. It is incredible to believe that something so intangible like the internet can develop such a large network of independant literacies. Andrew Blum, touches on this briefly in his TED Talk “What is the Internet Really” when he states that “my relationship to the physical world had changed”. Memes are a great example of this, they often sit online and are constantly remixed and recycled like on a “petri dish” until they become a subset of internet culture. Rosanna Guadagno also explores this in her study about what makes a video go viral, she explores the importance of emotional impact and found that a video was more sharable when it had emotion provoking content. I would like to compare this to a common stand-up comedy theory, discussed by the likes of Gene Perret and Judy Carter. Its understood that audience expectation and a sense of community is often what makes or breaks an engagement. In my case, because I have been developing my own voice, I often have not provided my audience with consistent content. This I believe it what has opened me up to hate messages. By constantly shifting my content, the audience does not know what they are receiving, and opposes my work.
YouTube. (2016). BBC Documentary – How Hackers Changed the World [Full]. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfCewYcnSu4 [Accessed 8 May 2016].
YouTube. (2016). Andrew Blum: What is the Internet, really?. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XE_FPEFpHt4 [Accessed 8 May 2016].
Oatway, J. (2012). Mastering story, community and influence. Chichester, West Sussex, U.K.: Wiley.
Guadagno, Rosanna E. et al. ‘What Makes A Video Go Viral? An Analysis Of Emotional Contagion And Internet Memes’. Computers in Human Behavior 29.6 (2013): 2312-2319. Web.
Perret, G. (2007). The new comedy writing step by step. Sanger, CA: Quill Driver Books/Word Dancer Press.
Carter, J. (2001). The comedy bible. New York: Fireside.