I Solved React Drama Using Science | YouTube Meta
Hello, everyone, and welcome to YouTube Meta, the series where I talk about YouTube, the algorithm and what it's like being a content creator. Today we are going to be looking at the easiest job in the content creation world, talking about why it could be toxic and figuring out what we can do about it. Let's dive in, shall we? React content. React content has been one of the big bogeymen of the Internet for decades, and debates and discussions over whether reactions are legal or fair or valuable are all over YouTube.
But why? Why is this such a contentious topic? And what is the future of this kind of content? Some of the first controversies were regarding whether it was legal to show other people's content in your own or to react to videos at all. And if you want a rundown of this period and react drama history, then check out Jay Exci's video on the topic or the H3H3 videos about their Fair Use lawsuit, which I have linked in the description, and I definitely recommend watching. Those early controversies surrounding React content were solved using Fair Use, which is the U.S. legislation that promotes freedom of expression by permitting the unlicensed use of copyright protected works in certain circumstances like education and in the case of react content at transformative uses that add something new and do not substitute for the original use of the work. But what I want to talk about today actually has nothing to do with fair use, because lately there has been a different controversy that's popped up that's less about what's strictly legal or illegal, and more about what is fair to other content creators. There's this new genre overreact content where live streamers will react to YouTube videos.
And often what this amounts to is the streamer watching entire videos on stream. And legally, what they're doing may or may not fall under fair use. Often it is fair use, but again, that's not what this video is about. This video is about what Australian GTA five streamer DarkViperAU refers to as "content theft". What you do not see is every time any reaction video appears where your video would have otherwise appeared.
Asmongold isn't doing this with hard work but with stolen contents. And if you want to watch his series of videos breaking down the ethics of this kind of react content, then I have that linked in the description and I recommend checking it out. Now, I personally think that theft might be a strong word, but Dark Viper raises a lot of good points about these React practices, and he illustrates how react streamers often absorb views that could have gone to the content's original creators. Here we have one YouTuber who labors for a week to make one video. Here is Asmongold, who steals a YouTube video as a part of his live stream, and he makes it into a video for his channel.
What takes a YouTuber a week has been can do in 30 minutes, but it gets worse. As Asman isn't limited to only reacting to one video, he can react to several. He can obviously also do this every single day. Now, who is more likely to bring themselves a greater amount of exposure, views and revenue? Each of the individual YouTubers with one week's worth of labor and therefore one video or asmongold with seven live streams and over 40 potential videos, collectively housing a year's worth of labor with a content, variety and quality that can't be matched by anything but an army of creators.
Each of these YouTubers and Asmongold are attempting to attract to themselves viewers from the same general finite markets who is more likely to end up with the most at the end of the week, essential. Dark Viper argues that streamers are taking all the hard work that creators put into their videos, reaping all the rewards, all of the views, and depriving the creators from getting those benefits themselves. Because when you watch someone's video on someone else's stream, what incentive do you then have to go watch that video when it comes across your YouTube home feed later? Now, I'm not here to weigh in on the actual data or prevalence of this. I generally agree with Dark Viper here, but this video isn't about taking sides in the is reacting content theft debate.
For the purposes of this video. The issue isn't whether reacting is content theft. The issue is that those reactors say that their reactions are good for creators because they are giving them a boost when they watch their content on stream. Streamers are defending themselves against Dark Viper's position, that they're taking views by arguing that, no, they're giving these creators a platform.
In the words of Hasan, they're getting a fat bump in views. Aren't you taking views away? No. Most YouTubers don't mind that actually love that shit. When Twitch streamers react to their videos because they get a f*cking fat bump. But the fact is, this isn't happening.
They say they're essentially paying these creators an exposure, but this exposure is minor at best and is usually just negligible. So this is the problem. The problem is not with the reactors themselves. The problem is not with fair use, and the problem is not with the drama that has spawned from these discussions. The problem is that streamers say that what they're doing is good for creators, but it clearly isn't. But what if that could change? What if they could react and have the creators actually get a fat bump from those reactions? Well, that was the question that my husband, Mr.
B, and I asked ourselves last month when we were sitting in our backyard one evening and what we came up with, well, what he came up with. I promised that I would give him credit for this because he really is the one that had the idea, was the idea that maybe there was a way to have all the stream viewers views the eyeballs, that the algorithm turns into numbers, go both to the streamer and to the original content creator. I thought this was a great idea and I have a platform, so I figured, you know what, why not? Let's try it and see how it goes. This is that experiment, and that's the issue that I want to try to solve, is this specific issue of lives, streamers and the problem of exposure. All right. So the question is, if we want to make sure that these original creators are getting compensated for their work and are getting like actual exposure, what how how, how? So I think you have to stream this reaction, but also have all of these viewers views go both to you and to the person that you are reacting to? They have to somehow be able to give their algorithm powers these views and these impressions to both of these streams of content.
So how do you do that? Well, for now, the only thing that works with the technology that we have is what we are calling the rising tide method, which is essentially just like a watch along or a simul stream. It's the best we have, and I know it's a little janky, but we're going to try it if we scroll down to the end here. What are the pros and cons? Why does it suck and what are the things that suck most about it? And then we'll talk about, okay, but in an ideal world where we do have the technology that makes this kind of thing less janky and less bad, what does that look like? So that's the gist. All right. So let's actually just jump into the method that we are going to be using here.
So what this looked like in practice was that my stream just showed my face and the timestamp for the video I was reacting to, but I didn't show that video on my stream. So if you wanted to follow along and see what I was reacting to, you'd have to click the link to the video I put in chat and then pull up the video yourself on a separate screen to watch along. Now there are lots of potential issues with this method, which we will get to later in the video, but that is the basic setup for the experiment. We watched three videos each from a different sized creator. One of them was chosen by me and the other two were chosen by my husband. For the experiment.
We went from smallest to largest, which meant that we started with Kiana Lanae. I hadn't heard of her, which isn't surprising because her channel is very young and she had only just put out her first video, which is the one that I reacted to. My husband found her through this Reddit thread where small creators can share their work and help boost each other.
It's really wholesome and nice, and I'm so glad that my husband found her because let me just take a second and gush about this creator. Her content is so f---ing good. Her production quality is through the roof and her content is really thoughtful and well done and interesting and sweet and just nice.
Kiana, if you're watching this, I wish you all the joy in the world. You are a gem. Anyway, her content is really stellar. Like, honestly. Go subscribe to her now. And I know that it would have done well eventually, but I was more than happy to feature one of her videos, her only video at the time on the stream.
And after Kiana was John the Duncan or J.D. and this was the video that I chose from him. J.D. is a great mid-tier creator at around 22,000 subs
and his most recent video at the time was about education, which I have talked about extensively on my channel. So I figured that it would be a good fit for my audience. And again, J.D.
is really wonderful, and you should also go subscribe to him, too. And then after that was a video from Joel Heever, a huge creator who makes animated and live action skits. He has a million and a half subscribers, so it was probably a pretty safe bet that people would enjoy watching one of his videos on stream. So those were the videos. Now let's see how it went.
That is the first video that we will be watching. So open that in a separate window or on a separate device. Keep it paused at the very beginning.
Do not begin it yet. And then when I say, okay, we're going to start, you press play and let me actually pull us over to you. So once I have this in full screen, you will see the timestamp here and hopefully that is big enough for you all to see. I can adjust it. When I say begin, we will begin. And then any time that I pause it, I will announce that I am pausing it so that you can all pause it and then I will keep that timestamp on screen.
[Zoe reacts to video] So nice. So nice. I just. I love like nice videos and something just so charming. Okay, so what did I actually learn from this experiment? Well, let's circle back to my hypothesis. I hypothesized that the rising tide method would do more to boost the creators whose content was shown on stream than the exposure method did.
Now, this seemed pretty obvious during the stream when I refreshed my videos after having watched them with my audience and the view count and subscriber count immediately just shot up. Yeah. Let's see how many views it has now. So when I started this, let's see this at 208 and 61 subscribers, that's where I'm at right now. When I refresh it, 1500 views and 314 subscribers.
Holy cow, guys, look at us. Look at us. Like actually helping creators. This is this is the whole purpose of this is that like, yeah, it's a pain for you all.
And for me. Like, there are some some growing pains that will, you know, some kinks to be worked out. But this is what it's for.
This is why. Now, imagine if I were, you know, has on and had, you know, tens of thousands of users, viewers, and they all went to watch her video. They could actually change people's lives the way that they say that they are. But I also think that it's important to look at the data a little more closely and also to look at the long term effects. So I reached out to both JD and Kiana, and they both shared some of their analytics with me.
And what I learned didn't really surprise me, to be honest. What these analytics show is that there was a boost during the stream, which yeah, that was kind of the whole point of the stream. But what's most interesting is watching what happens after for Kiana. Her data shows that after this sizable boost during the stream, she got other boosts when her other videos came out.
Now, of course, they weren't as big as this boost because there weren't hundreds of people watching all at the same time. But these little boosts mean that the algorithm got a hold of her video. It means that this big peak that she got from the stream helped to convince YouTube that her videos were worth promoting. And you can see a similar thing in JD's Analytics. His views and view time peaked during the stream and then went back to their normal trajectory. The slope was normalized within a couple of days.
But what's interesting is the subscriber count. There was a peak, as we'd expect, and then it slowed down, but the slope wasn't exactly the same. The subscribers increased at a slightly faster rate than before. Now it's not certain that this was due to the stream, but it's at least a correlation and shouldn't be ignored when we're looking at the data.
Now, something else that I learned that is definitely worth talking about is the user experience as a creator. It was a little frustrating to get everything set up in a way that worked consistently, but I'm also not a full time react streamer, so maybe with a little more practice and experience, it might be easier for me. The experience for viewers was a whole can of worms, but luckily I have some data for that too. Let's transition back over here and look at some of this data who not being able to keep the stream in the background while doing other things. That being the top one is really interesting to me. I mean, I know that the mobile is close behind, but I don't know if it's it's I would think that mobile would be number one.
That's what I was most worried about when I was like preparing for this stream. I was like, people are going to hate this because most people watch on their phones and you can't do this on your phone. That was what I was oh, in the ads. And buffering being being so high is also surprising.
I mean, they're all pretty close. I love science. So there are a lot of issues. That is definitely true. But that doesn't mean that we should just throw the baby out with the bathwater.
So let's take a look at what we can do about these issues. Clearly, this method is effective, but it still needs some work before it will be widely accepted. So there's two questions here. Until the technology exists for this to actually be viable or until the technology exists for this to be like integrated into YouTube before that happens, what can we change about this? Like, what could I have done differently with the technology that we have to make it better? Maybe have a specific sound for pausing. Yeah. So something that is a little bit more easier for people to tell when when it's happening. I think that the the real future of this, because we can do it the way that I did it.
I can, you know, get a soundboard and have like a foghorn play when I'm pausing, but I don't know that that's like a long term solution. I don't know that that makes this, like, incredibly sustainable. So what would make this sustainable is some kind of plug in or extension or just like a built in feature similar to there's a thing that you can do for live streams where it's a stream redirect, which is similar to raid's over on Twitch. So like YouTube is already able to connect to different channels to each other. Like they already have that technology to be like, okay, you know, this stream on this channel is going to immediately take all of the viewers of that stream and send them to another channel.
Like that's already a thing they can do. So I think that a built in feature wouldn't be that different. I mean, I'm no, you know, software engineer or programmer, I don't know the behind the scenes to how this works. But from a layman's perspective, as Project 70 says, I think essentially you need a solution that's as easy as the current approach in order for people to actually change. Yeah. So I as a YouTube creator of, you know, the size channel that I have, I do have a contact in YouTube to, you know, theoretically, like listens to me and says, you know, like let me know what sort of features you as a creator would like to see, etc., etc..
And so I am planning on raising this issue with them and saying like, hey, I think that that changing the way that livestreams are done or at least looking into something that could allow something like this, something where the people being reacted to are actually seeing some benefit from being reacted to. That would be great. And I think, you know, somebody earlier in chat said like spam YouTube on on Twitter, which I'm not suggesting that you do that. I'm not going to tell my audience to spam anybody.
But I think that any method that we have to reach out to YouTube and say that we're interested in something like this, or even like reaching out to other creators and saying, Hey, why don't you try this? Like, why don't you try this experiment if you have any streamers that you enjoy, maybe raising that with them to try it. Because, again, I'm not I don't do a lot of streams. I'm not a react streamer. I just wanted to throw this idea out into the wild to see if it could work at all.
This is totally a proof of concept. I wasn't sure if this was going to go well or fail because it could have. Because this is science. Since doing the livestream, I've reached out to my contact at YouTube and she said that it sounded really interesting and said that if I sent her some of the information that she could pass it along to the right people.
Now I don't know if this will actually come to anything, but only time will tell. But if you know anyone YouTube or if you just want to tweet at them or something, then it might be worthwhile to put this idea in more people's heads. I'm also working with a few folks who reached out to me with some serious suggestions about how to make some kind of plug in or extension or app that could help streamline the streaming process. Now, I'm not sure how this third party program will actually shake out, but I do know that several people are at least tinkering with something that could end up working and which I could possibly experiment with in the future. Something else that I mentioned in the stream was something you can do. You can reach out to your favorite content creators and relax streamers and suggested they try this.
I think it would be really helpful to have more information and data to work from, especially from streamers who have larger audiences than I do. Don't hound anyone, of course, but I think the only way we can verify that this is actually helpful for creators is if we have a larger sample size. Other than that, let me know in the comments. If you have any suggestions for how we can solve this problem. But just make sure that your suggestion actually solves the problem.
A solution needs to provide views to both the streamer and the creator. It needs to be as simple as possible, especially for viewers, and needs to be usable on all YouTube viewing platforms. So if you're going to suggest that I just use a window and window setup or a Chrome extension like watch party, take a second and ask yourself if what you're about to suggest fits these three criteria first.
But anyway, I think one of the beautiful things about this particular problem is that it's relatively neutral as far as the React content drama goes. Even if you think that reactors are the greatest form of entertainment on the Internet, you can still acknowledge that more could be done to help the people whose work they're reacting to. And like I mentioned during the stream, this rising tide solution wouldn't hurt the streamer in any way.
They would still get the views from their viewers. They would just also be helping to provide views to the original content creators. The most important thing is this seemed to to not be a total failure. So that's good. We know what worked.
We know what we can maybe change going forward. And the next step is to maybe suggest to other streamers that they try this, you know, know that it's not perfect, but maybe try it just to see, you know, somebody who has more experience than me can try it. And for other creators and even people on on Twitter, perhaps reach out to people that, you know, at YouTube, you know, run this by them, say, like, hey, I don't know if you've considered something that could do this, but yes, this method is not perfect. This method is not a replacement for organically going out and finding content yourself and watching it yourself.
But I still I think that that's okay, but it's not perfect because it's not supposed to be perfect. It's supposed to be better than what we currently have. It's supposed to be, you know, oh, we say that we're giving expose to to small creators, but that's not happening. But with this method, it would happen.
I mean, as we've seen, like we it's there is a this is better. It's not perfect, but it's better. And I think that's what we need to focus on. The obviously it's not perfect, but I didn't set out trying to make something perfect.
I set out trying to make something better than what we currently have. And I think we accomplished that. I, with the help of my audience of a few hundred, was able to give a pretty sizable boost to an undiscovered channel and a not insubstantial boost to a mid-tier channel. Imagine the boost that someone could give if they had an audience in the tens of thousands like a lot of these reactors have.
What I did isn't going to change the world, but it did offer a slight change to the trajectories of these smaller channels that I reacted to. And that's something. It's certainly more than the fat bump that Hasan gives to the creators whose work he watches on his stream. So I'm not sure where to go from here. I've done pretty much everything I have the power to do, which is why I'm making this video. It's up to you all now.
I did the experiment. I put the idea into the world. Now it's up to all of you whether we work toward a more equitable future. It will be harder.
There will be growing pains. But on the other side, we can fundamentally change the content creation landscape for the better. The rising tide method is just one lonely creator's attempt at forging a path toward a future where creators get the credit they deserve. Are you coming with me? Thanks so much for sticking around to the end of the video.
Keep an eye out for the next video in the series where I will be tackling whether YouTube success is based on luck or on skill or on something else entirely. So be sure to subscribe to the channel and ring the bell so that you know when that video comes out. This video would not have been possible without my wonderful patrons and channel members whose names you can see scrolling here.
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I hope my folks also now we're doing science. We're doing science. Yes, I'm wearing a collared sweater and a lab coat and jean shorts because that's the outfit of champions.