If I was Ray William Johnson or Sxephil, I might keep this coveted “fountain of delicious video” to myself… featuring them on my own videos, with perhaps a brief credit to the creator but not the source. Alas, I lack the good sense of my big brothers on YouTube, having been cursed by an impulse to share, even when it is against my better interests.
Meet one of the best-kept secrets in non-viral video curation: Reddit’s videos. Thanks to Mark and Tim from Poptent for turning me on to Reddit.. perhaps we’ll call it the Digg for underdogs.
That tiny, unassuming Reddit icon sits on my Chrome browser shortcut panel, smiling upon me. My little alien friend patiently beckons me (sometimes two or three times a day)m promising to fulfill my insatiable appetite for rare and wonderful video gems. Not the most popular or most current, but a collection of clips that are insanely aligned with my eclectic taste… as if the folks giving it an “up” arrow are telepathically tuned to my preferences. Here’s me on Reddit. I have no friends.
What’s lovely about this “crowd sourced” collection is that it’s not only unique and interesting videos. It’s almost always called out with a unique headline that provides an additive level of humor (it would be lazy to use the real video’s title, right?). I was recently taunted by a headline, “I don’t know what it is, but I want one.” The video featured an obscurely named video of a freaky bird/rat pygmy that falls off a scale (it inspired my recent video montage titled “epic battle of the cutest and weirdest pets“).
The Reddit picks are not always fresh, hot, trending February 2011 picks, but does that really matter? Sure if we cluster around the “most recent” and currently popular videos we build a common and uniting vocabulary. My children, for instance, surf iTunes most-popular knowing that they’ll hear it discussed at school and on the radio. That’s a social/cultural bond not known to the Insulated iPod Playlist Generation. Still, just as the dusty shelves of remaining Blockbusters hide some classic films in the “not new releases” isles… there are mounds of classic, vintage online videos from 2007-2010 that deserve a second chance. For example, remember Marcel the Shell With Shoes from Vimeo (I wrote about it on October 7 last year). It was posted on YouTube a week later, and now has 6 million views (worth maybe 3-4K to its creators, and growing). While I imagine the artistic Vimeo crowd will no longer invite Dean Fleischer-Camp and Jenny Slate to their wine tastings, the duo deserved more recognition for a meme that Daneboe might have turned into a $500,000 franchise.
I don’t know much about this mysterious army of Reddit curators, but they have a knack for finding often obscure and unseen videos (several hundred views) that deserve the honors otherwise left only to “dramatic chipmunk” or “Star Wars Kids.”
The Reddit Video collection is, I’m convinced, unviral in our world, but viral videos from a parallel dimension. That makes them even more special.
Today’s favorite picks: Steve Buscemi’s sketch where he takes hell in a vegan, feminist bookstore (fresh skit). Then Ryan Leslie turning a rap song into an improv musical performance (who cares if it’s 2008 it’s new to me). How about this intellectual debate from 1969 and American exploitation? Where’d THAT come from? How about some dude’s cousin covering Ren and Stimpy (only 300 views)? I’ve been “favoriting” the best on my YouTube channel if you want an easier way to receive these intravenously. You can still subscribe to someone’s favorites, can’t you? I can’t recall how.
Yes, it’s a motley collection with one unique and common thread: I’m glad I watched at least 72.4% of the top videos, which is more than I can say from any other aggregated source.