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In the era where making decisions feels impossible, we find solace in automatic video drips. Video game playthroughs dominate, offering a hypnotic blend of frustration and entertainment.
From gaming rages to deadpan coffee reviews, this ambient content lulls us into half-attention hypnagogia.
But beneath the surface, something bigger is at play: the rise of reaction culture shaping our digital lives.
Reaction videos were YouTube's trailblazing genre, capturing real-time responses to content.
Initially, they showcased genuine amazement and intense emotions, often creating a virtuosic performance. This marked the birth of extreme reacting, bridging the gap between authenticity and entertainment.
The format evolved, featuring a split-screen setup with subjects' genuine reactions juxtaposed with the source material.
This new style offered an amateur psychological experiment vibe, contrasting subjects' real emotions with digital content.
This is numbing stuff, ideal for a hypnagogic state of half-attention. It is content that demands no response from me.
The reaction video proved to be an omnivorous genre, capable of metabolizing and extracting more content from content.
- Mitch Therieau (Author)
Reactions detached from their origins and became self-contained units. Whether a GIF or an icon, they conveyed feelings more than context.
This became a shared vocabulary, a way to express emotions universally, irrespective of the content's source.
Today, reactions are the internet's air — an ambient presence in every digital interaction. The anxiety-ridden attention economy demands louder, stronger reactions.
But as reactions suffocate us, a question arises: Can we ever return to a quieter online existence?
Imagine an internet where displaying emotions isn't obligatory, where we choose to react in person or keep our feelings private. A digital space hospitable to lurking, allowing us to reclaim our reactions.
Maybe more simply, it would be an internet more hospitable to lurkers; to non-reactors, or at least to those who prefer to react in person only, to keep their reactions to themselves rather than offer them up as tribute to keep some hypermonetized media phenomenon burning with shrill and artificial insistence.
🌀 Reaction culture floods our screens, shaping our online experience.
🌐 Reaction videos: from extreme performances to universal language.
💬 Reactions become standalone units of engagement, transcending content.
🌍 Our digital realm is an atmosphere of reactions — are we suffocating?
🤔 Imagine an internet where personal reactions matter more than forced displays.
🚀 Let's reclaim our online reactions and redefine our digital landscape.
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