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May 26, 2014 | by  | in Opinion Weird Internet Shit |
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Weird Internet Shit

Would you like to feel old? Justin Bieber’s ‘Baby’ came out four years ago. 2010! Obama was still smiling. 480p was all the quality you could ever want. Justin’s hair was still all sweepy, and you hadn’t fucked it all up with that person yet. You know the one.

Four years, over a billion views, and six and a half million comments. This is where things get fun. You see, people still comment on this video. They comment a lot.

As I’ve written this, Random Gaming Things has left his mark on the world, with “I just notice that only girls like this little fckin twat”. Five or six people have commented on the amount of dislikes. One person wrote an acrostic poem with the word “SWAG”. They come in every half minute or so, even four years later, at pretty much any time of the day.

This actually marks a notable slowdown. A year or two back, when ‘Baby’ was still the most-viewed video in the world (‘Gangnam Style’ took its place), the comments section moved faster than you could refresh. It was a beautiful kind of ad hoc tween chatroom, with its own little ecosystem and community. Sometimes I would try to keep up, following the intricate conversations people would have about their days in between the people just dropping in to say “fag”. I checked out the remixes and covers and originals of those self-promoting in the comments section. I had assignments due, and I wanted to understand what kids did these days. Back when I was 13, YouTube was still exciting, still something you could do when people came over, each of you swapping funny videos like trading cards. What was it like to grow up in a world where YouTube was boring?

It got a little serious. I imagined someone waking up and starting their day by checking what was going on in the comments section for ‘Baby’. I imagined them rushing home from school to comment, or furtively typing out one in class. I imagined someone pressing enter on “hellow Belieber Sheep” and feeling satisfied with themselves. I imagined the reams and reams of ad dollars, falling from the sky in rubber-banded wads.

Plus, I quite like the song.

YouTube is great for reminding you how big the internet is. Facebook is huge, but feels tiny. Twitter is huge, but unless you care about unfunny trending hashtags, it can feel cosy. On YouTube, the view numbers are right there, the comments automatically refreshing below the video. Humanity has spent over 7350 years of our collective time watching the video for ‘Baby’. That’s amazing.

Weird Internet Shit would like to apologise for the lack of column last week, in the Internet issue of all things. It was Philip’s fault.

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