A linguist explains the "YouTube voice"

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Maybe that kind of diction is my Manchurian Candidate trigger…whenever I’m directed to start one of those videos that’s just some idiot babbling I have to switch it off quickly for I fear I will become homicidal.

Seriously, if you have something worth saying, fucking learn how to type. Then I can find out what you have to say in about a quarter of the time I’d have to spend listening to you while staring at your dumb face.


How good is the “YouTube Voice”?

Turns out it’s preeety goooood.

(You’ll get this if you watch Hearthstone streamers)


I feel like this link was supposed to have been included in the article: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/12/the-linguistics-of-youtube-voice/418962/

(Edit: And now it has been.)

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I seriously cannot wait until somebody develops Control F for YouTube videos.


News sites are on my shit list for this.

Auto-play videos are a cardinal sin of the web, and it’s amazing to me that all the major news sites for so long have been leading the charge.


Would you like to watch Troooooe Facts about Hhaerthstone?

The voice of people with no souls.
Who are incapable of genuine feelings, and so substitute emotions with irony and sarcasm.

Alot like me.


This solves a puzzle for me. I was visiting my sister and her family a couple of weeks ago, and my 13-year-old nephew would sometimes lapse into that weird, grating diction I usually associate with self-important hucksters and right-wing cranks 4x his age. His parents didn’t talk that way, but there he was pronouncing “creature” like “cree-ah-tchah” as he played video games with me. It made no bloody sense.

Now it does, because he also told me he was setting up his own YouTube channel for his gaming exploits after spending a couple of years watching others. Knowing this and reading the article, I’m now less annoyed than amused by it.

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This phenomena is similar to theeees , right?


I’m tickled by the people who are making a big stink about this, as if they were the nerdy kids thumbing their noses at the popular kids in middle school. The article makes a nice point - this kind of diction simply works. It is an effective way to grab and hold an audience.

I think of it in Darwinian terms. Suppose a million people started a million Youtube channels, and some used boring voices and others used entertaining voices. Which do you suppose would end up with lots of subscribers? Which would get noticed by The Atlantic?


But there is no reason for it. It’s the refuge if narcissistic attention-seekers.

That’s the problem, it doesn’t matter how many people subscribe.

And for actually communicating information, clear diction is more effective than exaggerated, caricature diction. When people are too busy tracking your wild gesticulations and shifting pitch, they are paying less attention to the actual content. Notice that this is less prevalent on podcasts which seem to have a point for existing than it is on the YouTube pop-culture regurgitation circuit.

Not that Ze Frank doesn’t have Youtube mannerisms, but his True Facts voice is meant as a goofy put-on, sort of like the guy who does impressions of Werner Herzog reading childrens’ books.


Which is all to say, “There is no ‘YouTube Voice’”.

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I need more Herzog impressions. In fact I am gonna do one right now.


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