Videos

YouTube Trends: Politics And Pop, Yes, But Education And Science, Too

A screenshot of Bill Nye discussing creationism and evolution in a popular YouTube video.

The explosively silly, manically paced music video "Gangnam Style" from South Korea has been getting about three million views a day on . Youtube. The company's trends manager, Kevin Allocca, said yes, Korean pop — K-Pop — is big, which we've talked about before.

But Allocca also brought up educational and science videos as major trends. Really.

"Educational videos have been viewed seventy percent more this summer than last summer," he says, citing the popularity of entire channels including Minute Physics and ASAPScience, as well as science star Bill Nye. Nye, Allocca says, happens to be one of the top rising searches on Youtube. That's partly because of a recent video in which Nye provocatively suggested to creationists that they refrain from teaching their kids to deny evolution.

"Because we need them," he explained. "We need scientifically literate votersand taxpayers for the future. We need engineers that can build stuff, solve problems."

That video got over a million views in less than a week, says Allocca. Now it's one of Youtube's most-viewed and most-discussed videos. He adds one sign that science videos are trending is when you see famous physicists getting autotuned and remixed.

It's less surprising that presidential politics are also trending. Hugely. "Just in the past 30 days, we estimate that our viewers have spent more than 20 years watching Obama and Romney videos," Allocca says, with the slightest note of rue.

What's really rather amazing is the fact, Allocca adds, is that since April, almost 600,000 videos have been posted on YouTube mentioning one of the candidates in some way. That's quadruple the 136,000 videos posted during the same period during the last election in 2008.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.