Wastefulness for views and money
When it comes to YouTube and the entire social media realm as a whole, content creators like going to the extreme in order to catch the attention of viewers. Whether that’s through massive portions of food, destroying merchandise, and buying insane amounts of a certain product, there appears to be a lasting trend in wasting and ruining items for viewing purposes.
There are multiple issues with this type of content- of course, the waste, but also the viewers endorsing it. While comment sections may be filled with criticism about harming the environment and wasting food, viewing and interacting with the content, only enables creators to do it more because of the big reaction they received. It is, in an odd way, fascinating and interesting to watch, hence why audiences tend to click on such content. The more views, the more money.
However, it is difficult to determine where the line should be drawn. After all, creators are able to do whatever they want with the money they make and it’s not really up to viewers how they spend it. Yet, it is an issue that is worthy of gathering attention. Especially with food, many viewers are bothered by the fact that good food that could be used to help those who are struggling and in need is simply being thrown away. Not only is this an apparent waste of the creator’s money, but it does quite the opposite of benefiting society.
While it may be true that spending $1000 on making slime doesn’t do any direct damage on anyone, the general issue is the worry that YouTube and other social media platforms are embarking on this downward spiral that promotes wasteful behaviors in order to gain traction. It can be assumed that other influencers will follow that path once they see how well it does monetarily wise.
This is not a brand new phenomenon and it’s been an ongoing issue for a while. Back in 2019, YouTuber Tyler Oliviera faced immense backlash with the release of his video “Can 1,000,000 Paper Towels Absorb A Swimming Pool?" Commenters talked about waste and pollution and his failure to acknowledge his possible impact, however small, on the environment. Oliviera’s defense was that "these paper towels existed and would have been used at some point in the foreseeable future," in attempts to justify his extreme usage of paper towels. Ultimately, however, he took accountability for the fact that he disregarded how much waste his actions had produced.
Nowadays, while there is still criticism, it has become even more normalized for YouTubers to use/consume enormous amounts of products. Mukbangs started in Korea, is a broadcast where hosts consume huge amounts of food for viewer entertainment. Its surging popularity reveals how viewers tend to flock towards videos that contain more hefty portions. Some countries have even taken action against food wastage- China passed the ‘Clean Plate’ Campaign, which revolved around limiting waste and criticizing ‘mukbangers.’ Social media companies have gotten involved and warned any viewer that searched up for eating shows. Some famous eaters have even gotten their videos blurred and/or removed from public domains.
Despite attempts from governments and common viewers to limit the amount of waste that content creators produce for views, it is still an ever-increasing issue that faces modern-day media. Ultimately, creators have the right to decide what they do with their time and money, but there needs to be continued awareness and attention brought to their waste. Especially nowadays, with many people struggling to make ends meet, content that is posted, specifically for younger viewers, should promote sustainable habits that benefit the environment and society.
Writer - Jasmine Kwok
Editor - Avani Sood