College admissions pages have been laced with the go-to accepted post: “I like to watch Netflix and stay in, but also am always down to go out and party!” This type of sentence is as dry and overdone as Deece chicken. The phrase “Netflix and chill” has also been overused, both as a Halloween costume and a pickup line. Regardless of how you use the phrase, it lacks creativity. Netflix as an “activity” lacks creativity as well, people with varying amounts of incomplete homework open up the site to escape their responsibilities.
Netflix is the means to the kind of vegetative state that Wall-E warns about. Unless you are one of those people using it as a means to the “chill” side, it has no purpose other than being an opiate. Leaving Marx out of this, opiates are addictive and damaging. Why hasn’t D.A.R.E. been working on this problem? After all, D.A.R.E. is an extremely effective way to prevent kids from using substances. My best friend from elementary school and I were chosen to read our articles about resisting drugs out loud in front of our 5th grade class. To this day, we have stuck to our maxim: “I’ll never do an alcohol ever.”
I have not opened Netflix this entire semester. This could be seen as an amazing statement to many readers (even though that’s probably just my parents), but it’s true. I have never even wanted to open Netflix this year. We’re going to ignore how this might mean that I have nobody to Netflix and chill with, and focus on the main point. I’m in college and don’t watch Netflix or eat ramen noodles.
If you’re still reading at this point, you probably want to know my secret. By the law of conservation of pointless time-wasting, I have to be flushing my youth away doing something else. I am not on Yik Yak, nor do I vent Dantian, unrequited affections upon Vassar Missed connections. I have no Pokemon games to play, and I’m already one of the best in the nation at “Rat on a Jet Ski,” so instead, I sold my soul to YouTube.
Since people tell me I dress and act like a dad, I figured I might as well take some fellow millennials on a trip down memory lane. Remember when YouTube didn’t have ads? Or any HD videos? Remember when YouTube was a sea of unprocessed content? I do, and my recent foray into the depths of the internet has made me look critically at the history of YouTube.
Naturally, I started my research by watching a video about the history of YouTube’s layout, on YouTube. What I found was quite surprising. Looking way back, YouTube was more of a place to put video files with a search function. The styling and organization was as unprocessed as the video content. I didn’t really start using the site, however, until it had gotten its shit together. I remember it being very clear how to make your own account; I guess YouTube figured that the bigger the “create account” button was, the more videos of cats falling off of stuff it would get.
The video content has changed remarkably from those days, too. YouTube was all about remarkable things and viral videos. The most editing that occurred was to make a video like “100 funny summer falls” or “Surfer dude autotune remix.” YouTube thrived on unoriginality. It wasn’t so much about the uploaders and who they were, but the content. A 12-year-old me could stay up scary late (like, 11:45) watching dubbed versions of “Yu-Gi-Oh!” Maybe the saying that your life flashes before your eyes when you die really refers to all the YouTube videos you have watched. Regardless of what I see in my final moments, be it snapchats, YouTube or real life, I bet my primary reaction would be embarrassment. And maybe hunger/revulsion when I revisit all those “Epic Meal Time” videos.
YouTube has become just as much of a social network as some of the big-name ones; and I’m not just talking about the dregs of humanity that make an appearance in the comment section, but the overall layout of the page and the development of YouTuber as an occupation. Of course, I can’t bash the people who make six figures off of fools like me who watch them play video games. Congrats.
YouTube has started to be less about the videos, and more about the people putting them out. With likes and subscriptions becoming literal currency, you can imagine that content can take a bit of a turn towards the basic. Still, if you can avoid the people in copious hair gel and makeup ranting about their meaningless lives, there is still some really amazing content to be found. “Seinfeld” bloopers and the “My Neck, My Mii” remix of the Khia song over the Nintendo Wii theme music are my primary examples.