Monday, September 26, 2011


L.G.C. Smith

Every time I get an email or read an article or blog post with a YouTube link, anxiety skitters through me. To play, or not to play? Most of the time, I don’t play.

I am afraid of YouTube.

To varying degrees, I’m also afraid of Twitter and Facebook.

I could blame it on being, ahem, shall we say past the first flush of youth. That’s a factor, but it isn’t the whole picture. Technology doesn’t inherently scare me. The people who use it are another matter. But technology is pretty cool.

I could claim to be upset by the potential for unintentionally invading some poor teenager’s privacy when a video of him getting walloped in the groin by a baseball bat wielding two-year-old trashes his dreams of stealing fifth-grade girls’ hearts from Justin Bieber. But that’s only a minor consideration.

I do worry about unsuspecting young people not realizing the depths of garden-variety depravity to which they may expose themselves with photos, clever videos, sexting, and what have you. But this doesn't contribute to my personal fear.

Free-floating anxiety, of which I have more than the average bear, isn’t to blame. No. I’ve acquired skills for talking myself down.

There is one thing about YouTube I can’t get away from. However alluring all those funny videos are, and there’s no denying the bone-deep appeal of Randall’s honey badger narration, they will Suck Up All the Time in the Universe.

YouTube is the blackest hole of a time sink on this side of the galaxy.

Alas, unlike the honey badger, I give a shit. I have books to write, research to do, and more books to read than I can fit into my days as it is. There are children in my life who are still young enough to want actual interaction. These circumstances alone, though wouldn’t make YouTube super scary. I also have a little issue with an OCD approach to clever film clips. I may have been born without a stop button. Therefore . . .

I am afraid of YouTube. Not memes. Memes are fine. But I will never be ahead of any curves that start on YouTube. I know my limitations.


Sophie Littlefield said...

it's true, sugar, youtube can steal half your soul in two seconds flat...there were time i went to say good night to t-wa and an hour later we're still watching "just one more"....but like most vices i think it's splendid in moderation

Juliet Blackwell said...

Well said, Lynn! I'm with you. The time suck potential is HUGE, which I'm reminded of each time I spend another 3 minutes (and another and another) listening to the honey badger video, or some such. Back to work!!!

Anonymous said...

This is pretty much how I feel about television. It's a black hole into which I can pour my entire life without really meaning too. Which is why I don't have TV in my home. I have a television on which I watch selected CD's, DVD's and Video Tapes from my collection. I am not a television snob; much of what is on is entertaining, some of it even educational (by that, I mean American Pickers). But give me access to TV, and I might as well live in a studio apartment over my mother's garage, because it takes over my life. It's just better if I don't go there.

L.G.C. Smith said...

Anon, I know what you mean. I've spent long periods of my life without television, and never missed it. Okay, maybe I missed "The Partridge Family" when I was ten, but it didn't hurt me. And the years in my twenties and thirties when I didn't have TV were great.

The difference for me between TV and Internet time sucks probably lies only in the fact that I can limit myself with TV. That's long practice. When I see a "Battlestar Gallactica" marathon (either series), I resist the temptation to put it on the DVR, plant my butt on the couch and settle in. The resistance is automatic now. I could get there with YouTube, too, I'm sure. Because I avoid it, it still seems too new and shiny to deny. One taste and I'm a goner. I suppose I'll have to get over that.

Adrienne Miller said...

I love that you and I are on the opposite ends of so many contentious issues; 70's funk, 80's Michael Jackson, and now YouTube. I cancelled my cable last year and I find I don't miss it so much (True Blood excepted of course) because YouTube has filled the gap. And instead of having to settle in for a half hour or hour show, I can get entertainment in 5 minute bites. Perfect for a treat after making a word goal!

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