We Are What We Watch
December 23, 2012

As if by sheer coincidence, the day the Mayans (i.e. the media) had predicted for apocalypse to take place, was also the day South Korean phenomenon Psy made history when "Gangnam Style" became the most viewed video on YouTube with 1,000,000,000 hits.

December 21st, 2012 shall forever be remembered as the day a Korean man pretending to ride a horse became the most recognizable image in the world. Psy has now probably joined the ranks of Superman, Hulk Hogan and Tony Fernandes as some of the most identifiable figures in history.

Given the attention that the video got, it comes as no surprise that Gangnam reached a billion views. My younger cousins alone contributed to 900 million of them.

But I was intrigued to know who the runners-up were. So I did some research – on Wikipedia -- and learned that following are the other most viewed YouTube videos and their respective hit figures.

1. Psy – Gangnam Style (1 billion)
2. Justin Bieber – Baby (803 million)
3. Jennifer Lopez – On the Floor (623 million)
4. Eminem – Love the Way You Lie (516 million)
5. Charlie Bit My Finger (503 million)

Among the five, I have never seen the Justin Bieber and Eminem videos. I know the songs. They’re played incessantly on the radio and at shopping malls. And links to the videos have appeared in one way or another. But I was never drawn to click, let alone specifically search for them (unlike On the Floor).

In a way, the list above illustrates the demographics of people who spend their time on YouTube. And it’s probably safe to conclude that the majority consist of members of our younger generations e.g. college undergraduates, school students.

Is this a cause for concern? The stuff our children are watching?

Probably. Looking at the trend, I’m guessing we would see the likes of Lady Gaga or Nicki Minaj if we go further down the list. While they might look the same, I’d much rather have Cookie Monster or Oscar the Grouch up there.


i wonder what top YouTube vids will be in the list if YouTube existed in the 90s/early 00's.

Bro... Dancing Baby of course.

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Photography by Azalia Suhaimi

  • Asrif, b. 1983
  • Subang Jaya, Malaysia
  • asrifomar[@]gmail[.]com
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