YOUTUBE VIDEO TITLES AS AN ORGANIZING PRINCIPLE FOR VIDEO CONTENT: A CASE STUDY OF THE GOOD MYTHICAL MORNING YOUTUBE CHANNEL
Keywords:YouTube video titles, Good Mythical Morning, microcontent patterns
The present article offers to take a look at the specific role of video titles and their unique organizational and structuring function within the unique multimodal universe of the YouTube video sharing platform. For the purpose of examining and illustrating this, the Good Mythical Morning (n.d.a) YouTube channel will serve as a testing field. This particular channel has been chosen, first of all, due to its remarkable success and popularity - it boasts 17.2 million subscribers and 7,524,143,682 views as of November, 2021 according to Social Blade (2021, November 25) - resulting from the continual efforts and savvy of entire team of professional content creators and producers. An additional factor which singles out this channel as especially appropriate for the intended research is the abundant material for observation and analysis it provides with its 2778 videos spread over 19 seasons since 2012.
The interface of the YouTube platform provides channels with the opportunity to organize content in various ways by creating so called “Playlists” - lists of videos grouped by a certain principle. This can be done on the basis of chronological ordering (as in the case of grouping together all videos uploaded during a particular “season”, or year - the Good Mythical Morning channel has a list of 19 such seasons, 2 per each year of the existence of the channel). Another way of organizing the content is in terms of “Created playlists” which feature groupings of similar videos, or, videos of the same type or genre of video content (as of November, 2021, there are over 50 such playlists - see Good Mythical Morning, n.d.b). For the creation of these groupings, video titles play a major role - they serve as labels for each video and help the users form expectations regarding the content they are about to view. Moreover, since viewers on YouTube are by default presented with a playlist of suggested videos generated by the YouTube algorithm, the chances of viewers staying on the channel and continuing to watch similar content to the one they have been detected to like and gravitate towards is increased. Instead of moving on to a different type or genre of video, the person can simply “stay” within the playlist, thus generating more views and improving engagement. In order for these similar videos to be recognized as a variation on a theme instead of something entirely different their titles need to also be recognizably similar and pertaining to a common genre or type - this is achieved by generating titles by employing particular patterns for creating microcontent. What will be of interest for the present study is the specific types of patterns employed by the Good Mythical Morning channel in generating their video titles and how they serve as the basis for organizing content within the framework of a multimodal media platform.
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