Friday 18 August 2017

'The heartbreaking moment...' - Has internet overshare culture gone too far?

Has internet overshare culture reached its peak?

Has YouTube turned 'overshare' culture into a monster?
Has YouTube turned 'overshare' culture into a monster?
Brian O'Reilly

Brian O'Reilly

"This has been really difficult to share...

...but I'm going to do it anyway in the hope of a couple of thousand clicks and attention from cyber-strangers."

No, this is not the latest attempt at a YouTube viral - sorry if you clicked for a video of a dying granny.

Although a quick search would show that hundreds, if not thousands, of videos matching this description exist online. I saw one last week.

Before I continue - this isn't a YouTube-bashing article, far from it.

YouTube has enabled a generation of talented singers, actors and comics to bypass record and TV production companies and reach massive audiences.

Some of the most talented new generation of stars have broke through thanks to YouTube - many who might not have fitted the "look" of what production companies are after.

Justin Bieber, Zoella and Colleen Ballinger have all launched successful careers thanks to the video sharing site.

Irish YouTubers such as Riyadh Khalaf and Melanie Murphy have become huge international successes without selling their souls in the process.

Not only has it helped promote talent, but it has also enabled millions around the world to share genuine and spontaneously beautiful moments in life.

From surprise Christmas homecomings, to puppies learning to walk - YouTube can always be relied on for a pick-me-up.

But it has also given rise to a generation of wannabes with no discernible talent, whose only means to compete on the platform is to exploit their personal lives in the hopes of going "viral".

Viral like the measles.

When someone tries to pimp their personal life for clicks it creates a chicken and egg overshare phenomenon.

When does the video stop becoming the product of the moment, and the moment becomes a product for a video?

There are videos online of little children crying because their grandparent or pet has died, filmed by their parents in glorious HD. Why would you exploit a child in such a way? Who does it benefit?

If you were proposed to by someone who proceeded to post the video to YouTube 30 seconds after you accepted, surely you would question whether the proposal was genuine - or whether it was just being used as a vehicle to drive clicks and a YouTube profile.

If someone prioritised editing and uploading a YouTube video over telling family and friends about an engagement or pregnancy or other major life moment, I'd be worried.

Will you reminisce as an elderly couple of your proposal filmed from 17 different camera angles with a wind machine for effect?

"Oh sweetheart, remember how we had to re-film my spontaneous surprise because you said I was out of focus in the original shot?"

You probably won't be together as an elderly couple to reminisce anyway, as your beloved will have released such videos as 'WATCH: The fight that ended our relationship' and 'MUST WATCH: The moment I served divorce papers on my wife' in the time meantime.

Is your relationship actually genuine, or just a ruse for views?

Thousands of people film these very genuine moments as a keepsake for years to come.

But when someone has multiple videos of 'surprise moments' - you have to question whether the person is a click junkie. 

When did likes, clicks and shares become an important part of real life?

Because they're not real, not in a tangible sense. And a generation of desperate YouTube wannabes are attaching their self-worth and self value to someone thousands of miles away clicking a mouse.

So next time you click on that viral video of the 'Surprise moment when...' - ask yourself just how spontaneous it really is, and the sort of culture we're creating by clicking.

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