So Here’s a Study About Internet Cats

"The Grumpy Guide To Life: Observations By Grumpy Cat" Book Launch Party

Excerpt from this article that looks at that eternal question, why do people love internet cats?

People are more than twice as likely to post a picture or video of cats than they are to post a selfie.

…According to a personality test, people who reported watching the most cat videos tended to be more agreeable — cooperative, friendly, trusting — than people who watched fewer of the videos.

…Frequent cat-video-watchers also tended to score high on a scale measuring shyness; they were more likely to agree with statements like, “I feel tense when I’m with people I don’t know well.”

…They also reported feeling less anxiety, sadness, and annoyance after watching cat videos. Who could stay upset when watching cats play patty cake, or stalk their owners, or pretend to be a tiny, furry wrecking ball?

YouTube to the rescue: how it taught us to fix boilers, wash denim and master beauty tips

Tim Dowling plumbing

Excerpt from this article, which I can totally relate to, having recently searched for videos on repairing doorknobs, fixing a stove and resetting my wifi router:

The video site is 10 years old this week and now contains tricks and guides to pretty much every problem ever. Guardian writers reveal the lessons they’ve learned.

For several years running, I had to call out a plumber every autumn; the central heating pump would quit shortly after I turned on the system. One year, I had a magnetic filter installed to catch the gunk that kept jamming the pump, but the next year it quit right on schedule. I called the plumber. He cleaned out the magnetic filter, restarted the system, and sent me a bill.

The next year, the annual breakdown of the pump coincided with a warm spell, so I did nothing for a week. One day, while I was staring into space, it occurred to me that YouTube might hold the answer to my problem.

The Koreans who televise themselves eating dinner

Lee Chang-hyun

Excerpt from this article:

How do you fancy eating your dinner at home in front of a webcam and letting thousands of people watch? If they like the way you eat, they will pay you money – maybe a few hundred dollars a night… a good salary for doing what you would do anyway. This is happening now in South Korea.

It’s often said that if you want to see the future look at how technology is emerging in perhaps the most connected country on the planet. The food phenomenon is called mukbang – a combination of the Korean word for eating (muk-ja) and broadcasting (bang-song).

…Some 10,000 people watch him eating per day, he says. They send a constant stream of messages to his computer and he responds verbally (by talking) and orally (by eating, very visibly and noisily).

If the audience like the performance, they allocate him what are called “star balloons” and each of these means a payment to him and to the internet television channel on which he performs.

The Cheapest Way to Entertain your Children: Millions of toddlers are hooked on online ‘unboxing’ videos in which they watch their favourite toys being unwrapped

Videos showing toys being unwrapped have been viewed billions of times, with one unboxing channel in particular recently becoming the most watched YouTube show in the US

Excerpt from this article, which I found after hearing about how much my three-year-old nephew loves “watching eggs” (it’s really a thing! see also this article here, and this other one here):

They may leave many slightly bemused, but the phenomenon of online ‘unboxing’ videos appears to have developed a captive audience among toddlers across the world.

Videos showing toys being unwrapped have been viewed billions of times, with one unboxing channel in particular recently becoming the most watched YouTube show in the US… Overall, the channel has been watched more than 3 billion times, according to The Telegraph.

Updated, May 2016: Check out this article, “Inside the Strange and Slightly Creepy World of ‘Surprise Egg’ Videos”

The Creators | OFFICIAL Documentary Film feat. Zoella, TomSka & NikiNSammy

From YouTube:

The Creators is an original documentary directed by Oscar-nominee Nanette Burstein. Providing a glimpse into the lives of the internet’s biggest stars, seen from a different angle.

I have set the clip to start playing towards the end of the half-hour documentary, when YouTube star TomSka explains:

Maybe it comes from some sort of inherent human fear of becoming irrelevant, but I really do just want to pour out my whole soul and my whole existence online, and it means that the relationship I have with my audience is very brutal and honest, and I like that.

Love in the Time of Binge-Watching

Excerpt from this article:

The simple act of gathering around a TV set to share the experience of watching a program together feels increasingly quaint. Thanks to streaming services, on-demand access and the little devices we carry in our pockets and purses, we can watch what we want, when we want, where we want.

Yet with all those options, it can be tough to align the where-when-how of two busy people.

For Mr. Kolko, co-watching works well. But the high-tech fussiness required to produce an oldfangled enjoyment is not lost on him. “Neither the problem nor the solution would have existed a few years ago,” he said.

…In modern-day romance, resisting the impulse to binge so that you may watch with a lover is the new equivalent of meeting the parents or sharing a sober kiss. “You know you’ve found the one when they say they won’t watch the next episode of the series you’ve been binge-watching together without you”…

…[Another] couple likes to stockpile episodes of shows like “Top Chef” and then watch over a single weekend. To make sure that plots lines and suspense are not sacrificed in the name of finding time to see the show together, the couple enact filtering functions on Twitter.

For instance, Ms. Thomas will change her settings such that any mention of a “Top Chef” contestant is filtered from her feed, and she will mute the posts coming from Bravo, the network that presents “Top Chef,” as well as those from one of the program’s judges, Tom Colicchio. “You have to be really proactive,” Ms. Thomas said. “It’s really quite an undertaking.”

Be the Star of Your Own Snapchat Story

Excerpt from this article:

The best way to understand Snapchat Stories is to imagine a short and very personal TV show: directed, edited and starring you. There are technical limitations. The videos are shot and viewed mainly on smartphones. And each clip can be up to only 10 seconds long, though you can record dozens of them in a row, creating an episode that is a few minutes long.

Snapchat Stories can either be private, only viewable by your friends, or public and seen by anyone. But unlike other social video services, and here’s the best part, Snapchat Stories last 24 hours and then — poof! — they’re gone.

And because your clips vanish after being viewed, you can be as normal or silly as you want. In that way, they mimic real life.

That’s the main reason people I know have been drawn to Snapchat Stories. They are fed up with managing injurious comments on Facebook, worried that a vicious mob will attack them for saying the wrong thing on Twitter or frustrated that a photo they share online will show up in a Google search for all of eternity.

A group of teenagers I spoke with recently told me about their secret way of using Facebook so that public posts don’t stay public forever. Here’s how it works: Jack posts a comment on Jill’s Facebook page; when Jill reads the comment, she “likes” it; when Jack sees that, he goes back and deletes the comment. Sounds complicated, but young Facebook users do this to replicate the ephemeral nature of Snapchat.

Nestle trials placing video ads into Captcha sign-ups

Excerpt from this article:

The Captcha experience, which is used as a way of determining that a web user is real and not a bot, is often a source of frustration for users. Using an interaction from a brand to replace this helps improve the experience and, theoretically, makes a person feel more favourably about the brand. The ads are also intended to improve an overall negative feeling towards some ads after a 2013 Adobe study found that 62% of people believe that adverts are annoying.

For Millennials, the End of the TV Viewing Party

Excerpt from this article:

A decade ago, a home — even, in many cases, a dorm room — without a television would have seemed virtually unthinkable, like a house without a telephone.

And, that, in a sense, is the point.

Just as the landline went from household staple to quaint anachronism seemingly overnight during the last decade (acquiring a profoundly uncool air along the way), the television set has started to look at best like a luxury, if not an irrelevance, in the eyes of many members of the wired generation, who have moved past the “cord-cutter” stage, in which they get rid of cable, to getting rid of their TV sets entirely.

…“I live in New York City, I find events to go to every night, and have seen my social and professional life flourish as a result,” Ms. Lieberman said. “While there are certainly the rare nights where I find myself curling up with an iPad to catch a show, the only time I watch a program from an actual set is during my daily morning run at the gym.”

ASMR therapy: Videos of people whispering is the latest YouTube craze

Excerpt from this article:

As the stresses of modern life multiply, the quest for relaxation has never been more desperate. Screens are staying on longer, there are those Minority Report style video adverts on the Tube, and film trailers at the cinema are getting louder (I’m certain of it). So how can we find peace amongst the electric drone of the online era?

The answer could be to watch videos of people whispering – or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR), the phenomenon being described as the latest YouTube craze.

See also, this episode of the podcast This American Life for more on the phenomenon.