So here's the thing about online videos. People will watch them because they think something significant is going to happen, even if the previous six minutes of the video have been sheer boredom. You think, "Maybe, at exactly 7:37 in the video something hilarious is going to happen and if I don't watch all 12 minutes of this video I'm going to miss out on a fantastic lifetime opportunity! And if I switch away from the video I'll forget about it and it will be lost in cyber-oblivion forever, and I will not be up with the pop culture times and no one will be my friend..."
And then you get to the end of 12 minutes and you think, "That was a boring video." And then you know what you do? You click on the next video, thinking the same crazed thoughts!
It's like gambling. It is exactly like gambling, I am telling you. "If I just pull the slot one more time, I'll get a million dollars, even though I've just lost $25 and I've been sitting here for three hours and my arm hurts more than it ever has, and I really have no idea if it is day or night right now..."
I just sent my brother's girlfriend, Caitlin, a message on facebook, and then watched five whole videos on her profile page of her and her roommates filling up a beanbag chair with the stuff that goes inside beanbag chairs. Now no offense, Caitlin and Caitlin's roommates, it's not that these videos were particularly boring, they just weren't exactly...nail biting and/or hilarity-inducing. I just had to note that once I watched "The Beanbag, Part One," I had to watch parts two through five as well. Each video seemed to me to be exactly like the one before it, I didn't understand the inside jokes, but the cheap thrill monster inside me kept clicking on that little square button with a triangle in it, "Play."
Jerry Seinfeld talks about this human idiocy in one of his old stand up routines, discussing the watching of late night TV. He says that he will "fight sleep" to find something good on TV, even though it is a known fact that the quality of television goes down as the hours tick on (save Craig Ferguson at 12:30am). "Go to BED!" he yells at himself. How true is this for all of us.