The Foul Mouth of YouTube Travel

From NMT Images
The Foul Mouth of You Tube Travel

I’m absolutely convinced that comments on video sharing sites, especially You Tube, are more mean, potentially racists and more chaotic than comments posted to text-based blogs and sites.

And I’m sure there are many more comments posted to video sharing sites.

While I’m mostly talking about travel videos on You Tube, ( a large part of its inventory), I’ve seen the same kinds of responses in other categories on the site..

You Tube really is the wild, wild..wild west when it comes to viewer feed back and attracting the crazies.

Maybe it’s the informal nature of video vs. text or print. Maybe because video is a “new” form of expression, it hasn’t evolved a set of traditions or decorum.

Comments posted to text-based posts still carry with them the tradition and weight of print's historic discipline, like accuracy, good grammar, sourcing and the like.

Video’s very nature seems to dis-inhibit the viewer, permitting him/her to shoot from the hip, be more impulsive, more extreme.

Either other video-sharing platforms (Metacafe, Veoh, Yahoo, etc.) police their viewer comments, or the sheer monster size of You Tube accounts for the huge number of extreme, off-the-wall responses.

Take a look at Travel Video PostCard's Germany TVP, one of three.

There are 100 plus comments including Germany's love of Hitler and beer; its hatred of Turkish immigrants; it's importance to Europe; its visceral anger toward Greece; its beautiful women, frustration at its immigration policy and a hatred of all things Islamic. Many comments are straight out anti-immigrant, anti "guest worker” invectives.

The Oslo TVP has about 150 comments on two, one-minute videos.
For a country that projects a brand image of Fjords, liberal Democracy, mountains and lush forests, the comments are even more jarring.

As a producer of the Norway TVP, I've been called an "idiot" and a defender of sexual harassment as in this recent comment, posted under the Norway TVP:

"why don't you try live in Oslo for a while and have muslims sexually harass you whenever you're not with a man? Yeah, what a great society we have... Don't come with "discriminatory"-bullshit if you haven't lived here, because it really pisses me off. You're an idiot."

The simple, deliberately non-political Udaipur, India, TVP with an aggregate 100,000+ views has comments like this:

"lets take up a stand against these dirty poverty stricken bengalis who think they are the sole contributors to indias independence, its rich culture and its glorious past...SPREAD THE MESSAGE & Throw these useless buggers outta the nation. HATE BONG! JAI HIND!"

It would be futile for the publishers of TVP (and I’m one of them) to chase down and eliminate these kinds of posts. Nor should we. .
These are issues of free speech involved, and the Internet, if anything, is, presumably, about free speech.

I've suggested that the Berlin, German and Norwegian tourism offices assume responsibility to monitor these posts and respond factually to cut through the noise.

Norway never ever responded to our repeated suggestions.
Germany thanked us for alerting them, but the Berlin tourism representative said she had been advised by web experts not to comments on negative postings because it adds fuel to the fire.

Bad advice. In the world of new media travel country's brand or image is what the people say it is, not what the tourism board wants it to be.

Everything we know about social networking from experts like Paul Gillin tell us that to ignore what is being said about a product or destination ( a brand) is to do so at one's own peril; is to abdicate marketing responsibility.

There are many good and appreciative comments on YouTube' s travel content comment pages, comments about a videos that stirred a memory or helped a person decide to make the trip they were thinking about.

But the Internet, and, in my opinion, especially You Tube's video-driven content pages, fester with bullying and derogatory remarks.

If the social web is a vast playground of sorts, then the bullies need to be restrained and stood up to by intelligent, thoughtful responses from those that know better.

What do you think? Respond to or ignore negative comments?

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