In an era where the internet dominates life, video services like Netflix and YouTube have flourished. The age of television is waning, and the ability to binge-watch content is becoming the new norm. Now, it seems that it’s more common to have a Netflix account than to not. And while Netflix has existed since 1999, its online streaming is newer than YouTube. Yet people seem to spend a majority of their video-consuming time on Netflix. I was one of those people up until recently, until I really committed some time (circumstantially) to YouTube, and realized what it really has to offer.
What drew me to YouTube as a true fan with dedicated subscriptions (as opposed to just looking up random videos from time to time), was the quality “educational” videos, including Vsauce, CGPGrey, Brady Haran’s various channels, and Smarter Every Day, among others. As a massive user of Wikipedia, these channels provided me with essentially the same benefit as Wikipedia, that being cool and often random facts, while also being entertaining and innovative. My discovering of these channels led me to watch their entire backlogs, something which every YouTube fan should do. I continued on with the following of these channels for some time. Then I found the Vlogbrothers.
I’d known about the existence of John and Hank Green’s channel for a while, but never really watched it until I happened across a recurring series of “[insert large number] jokes in four minutes” videos by Hank. This drew me in and, after watching a number of their videos at random and becoming accustomed to their style and the various intricacies of Nerdfighteria, I decided to start from the beginning. That meant watching every of their videos in chronological order, starting with Brotherhood 2.0.
It was this experience (which, mind, is still ongoing, since they have something like 1,400 videos) that drew me to the conclusion made in the title, that YouTube is better than Netflix. What watching the Vlogbrothers, particularly Brotherhood 2.0, provided me was the joy of seeing an empire, one that I knew what it would become, be created right before my eyes. I’m someone who is fascinated by everyday life, and the small stories that are ingrained into it. The Vlogbrothers provided this in abundance, chronicling their various day-to-day activities, as well as their larger career and life arcs.
This is why YouTube is better than Netflix: it’s real. Sure, Netflix can provide nearly endless entertainment, and I do enjoy what it has to offer. But just by its very nature, it’s fake. Netflix is just actors reading from a script experiencing predetermined events. Even if it’s a show or movie about “real life” stuff, it still isn’t real life. Real life is unpredictable and ever changing, with countless little facets that make all the difference. YouTube allows you to explore these facets, whatever they may be, by connecting you to real people whose lives also reach to the same facets as yours. It allows you to watch real life stories unfold before your eyes, and often become a part of them as well. You learn new things all over, from the wonderful educational YouTubers to the daily vloggers and all those inbetween. Everyone has their own combination of random interests and identities, and YouTube’s mass of content ensures that you can find something you can relate to, and something you can enjoy.
It’s the only real reality TV.