What Happens to the Videos No One Watches | WBEZ
Skip to main content

Note to Self

What Happens to the Videos No One Watches

Here's the thing about social media; it's supposed to be social. Right there in the name.

And yet, across the Internet there are millions of public videos, photos and posts that almost no one has watched, clicked or shared. Which begs the question: If a person puts a video on YouTube, and no one watches, did it even happen?

Joe Veix wrote for Fusion about what he calls the Lonely Web. "It lives in the murky space between the mainstream and the deep webs. The content is public and indexed by search engines, but broadcast to a tiny audience, algorithmically filtered out, and/or difficult to find using traditional search techniques."

Just to focus on YouTube, the company reports that over 400 hours of video are uploaded every minute. Nobody can watch all this stuff. But it's there... waiting. Joe tells Manoush that watching these videos can give you a refreshingly honest look into someone's life, as opposed to the more edited and filtered versions that many of us share. "But is also emotionally exhausting," he says. "Because on some level you are maybe not supposed to be watching these videos. It’s a little voyeuristic."

In many ways, the present-day Internet caters to our laziness. The people who work at media companies are pros at understanding our expectations, finding buzzy content, slapping on the perfect headline and setting it right in front of our eyes. The Lonely Web offers something different — its headline might just be a string of numbers, and it doesn't care about your expectations. It's up to you to go out and find it.

But first, let Joe and Manoush be your guide by listening to this week's episode. Here are the painfully ordinary, yet somehow wonderful videos they discuss:





If you're looking for more Lonely Web videos, look no further: They're right here.

Subscribe to Note to Self on iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, I Heart Radio, Pocket Casts or anywhere else using our RSS feed.

Get the WBEZ App

Download the best live and on-demand public radio experience. Find out more.