Picture this: You’re 10 years old, and it's Christmas morning. You wake up, run to your living room and excitedly unwrap all those presents under the Christmas tree. Unsatisfied by the pile of gifts and craving more, you run back to your room, grab your iPad and start binge-watching "What I Got For Christmas" videos on YouTube. Okay, maybe that last part is not relatable, but that doesn't mean it isn't becoming a Christmas day tradition for many young children and teenagers to watch "haul-style videos". Hauls (also known as unboxing videos) are videos YouTube personalities and other social media influencers record and promote to display their recent purchases. Yes, people love watching other people show off their recent acquisitions and gifts. Most of the time there is no tangible benefit for the viewer - not even a discount code for them to purchase the items shown - but audiences are still obsessed as evidenced by the millions of views these videos receive. There is a supposed dopamine rush felt from watching these videos, which might explain their popularity, however, haul videos also seem to be part of a larger trend of seeking closeness with online personalities.
Let's take a look at another trend: Vlog videos. Vlogs are supposedly unscripted videos in which YouTubers record their daily life and post it online. Audiences love vlogs and being a part of their favorite online personalities' live, or at least the illusion these videos create in their minds that they actually know these creators. Can you imagine keeping up with someone else's daily life? Seems exhausting!
Would you prefer watching videos in which strangers eat and talk? Some people do! If audiences are already getting so much content related to daily life activities, why not also watch their favorite YouTubers eat? I'm referring to the "mukbang" video trend, which originated in Korea. In these videos, YouTubers sit in front of their camera an eat (usually large amounts of food) as they interact with their audience by telling stories about their lives or answering questions.
Source: Tubular Insights
While all of these trends may sound bizarre to some people, others crave the illusion of familiarity they create. Whether you would enjoy these videos or not, one thing is for sure: the desire to get more and more detailed insight into online celebrities' lives will continue to shape content trends in the future. We all already consume a fair amount of this media with our social media friends that we follow at home, on vacations, and during dinners or workout sessions. We are influenced by their decisions of where to eat, what workouts to do and what to purchase. Online influencers have shown their power. Is it possible that as we feel like we get closer and closer to them we'll become more easily influenced?