Look into my eyes

From the Sites to Watch Department:

This morning a co-worker tipped me off to a fast-growing YouTube channel. It was 64th in views this morning, but as I write this afternoon it's climbed to #9. It's called "I Beat You."

The video on the page, as of this posting, features the start of a staring contest ... with Jessica Alba. She's challenging the world to see who can go longer.

In fact, that's the premise of the channel: challenging others. Observe the YouTube member info:

We wanted to create a platform where people could compete with anyone else in the world in anything; publicly for the world to see, or privately amongst friends.

The channel appears to be serving as a promotional piece for the full site: The site, quite festive in design and user interactivity, allows users to challenge each other over anything and everything so long as multimedia can back it up. There are video, photo and text category classifications.

Among the current contests in the "crazy" category:

  • "The best pic of you singing," 49 entries

  • "Best Photoshop picture of You," 37 entires

  • "Just not right picture," 105 entires

  • "The Um Game," 26 entires. (Says the contest description: "You have keep talking for at least 30 secs without saying Um, Uh, or anything like that. Be sure to set a stop watch... the most creative entry that can go the distance wins!")

People love interacting with each other. People love bragging about themselves. People love watching other people look like asses.

Traffic success, if you ask me.

A side note on user-submitted stupid-funny video: YouTube was not the first in this realm. I'd argue that "America's Funniest Home Videos" started the trend of user-submitted "WTF?" videos. YouTube has, incidentally, taken the AFV concept to an on-demand level, in turn opening our eyes to the possibility of stupid video at all hours of the day, not just during prime time. After all, not everyone wants to see a dude get hit in the crotch at 7:30 p.m. - some people might prefer a 2 a.m. viewing.

To that end, exploits our competitive, voyeuristic and occasionally perverse characteristics for the sake of everyone's humor. There's no genuine information here, only entertainment. But in the process of being entertained, we also learn. Learn what? Well, crap, frankly. Who can belch the loudest, stare the longest or fart the hardest is rather irrelevant to my daily life. Yet aren't these all random encounters we've had at some point in our collective background? The sibling rivalry with burps at the dinner table. The fart festivals with friends. The staring contests with our wannabe-"lovers."

Of course, most of these took place in elementary school.

Holy hell, we're bringing back our youth.

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