I spend around three hours a week on YouTube. While not even close to the amount of time others may spend on the mega site, three hours is still a lot. In fact, three hours is enough to do a very long, very nice blog post or advertise this blog. These are three hours that are almost entirely pointless, so why do I waste my time there?
Firstly, let me tell you that, while varied, my watched videos all revolve around the same topics and YouTubers. There are three YouTubers that I follow faithfully: Dude Perfect, Mr. Beast, and Jxmmy. However, the overarching topic on the videos I watch centers around one thing- sports. All other videos are either basketball, football, or soccer videos.
So, why exactly do I spend my time watching Dude Perfect or basketball highlights? Two reasons: current events and political opinions. You would honestly be surprised at the amount of political speech one can find on a basketball channel. All it takes is a small mention of Lebron James’ comments on China and BAM! You have a political statement. While the creator of the video may not believe that statement himself, he’ll certainly have an opinion to give.
YouTube contains more than just American or Chinese politics. In fact, YouTube contains its own politics. Think about it. When Liza Koshy and David Dobrik broke up, there was so much public outcry, I thought that David would commit suicide. While I didn’t watch this breakup live, I heard pieces of it from friends, several of which were extremely crushed.
“How is this politics?” You may be asking. Well, think about it like this- when a Kardashian situation is brought to a regular, dinner-table conversation, it is usually treated as politics. Your family and friends have differing opinions and viewpoints, and many engage in a large argument. While not specifically politics, these are certainly political opinions.
You see, YouTube is different from Wikipedia. It’s goal isn’t to “provide unbiased fact”. The individual opinions of an individual YouTuber are almost always found. Many YouTubers publicly state their political opinions, often leading their followers down the same path. All it takes is a few minutes of videoing and editing and suddenly millions of people know that Mike Tyson, Dennis Rodman, and Terrell Owens all support Donald Trump.
YouTube is a massive tool. With 350 billion video views per month, it is arguably the most influential app on the Internet. When someone influential posts a highly-viewed video, it affects people. If PewDiePie were to tell his MASSIVE fanbase of well over 100 million followers to follow Donald Trump, they would listen.
In fact, this has happened before. While not necessarily political, the “Raid Area 51” movement was huge. Matt Roberts, a moderately popular video game streamer, began the event on a Facebook post as a joke. After three days, the event only received forty signatures. Then, the impossible happened- it went viral. Suddenly, everybody was talking about it, and within a few weeks, Roberts had received two million RSVP’s and 1.5 million “maybe” signatures. While only a few people actually showed up, the event still showed that anything could go viral- even illegal ideas.
This also shows the true power of viral content. If something politically humorous goes viral, it is almost guaranteed to impact millions. This is the only true danger of the Internet. It is so easy to get caught up in the fake world and lose touch of what’s most precious to us. While YouTube can be an absolutely fantastic platform (where else can you find videos of people jumping off cliffs and onto trampolines), we must be careful to filter what we see through the lense of Scripture. Instead of following every movement and joining every debate, let’s stay as salt and light and be above this world. Carefully analyze everything you see through a Biblical lense, and ask, “is this pushing a political opinion? What does Christ say to this?”
Carefully analyze everything you see through a Biblical lense, and ask, “is this pushing a political opinion? What does Christ say to this?”Tweet
Originally published here.
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