2018 YouTube Rewind: What Went Wrong?


Juliette Fournier

Clearly the YouTube Rewind was unpopular with many of YouTube’s viewers.

Juliette Fournier, Editor

Every year since 2011, YouTube highlights all the trends and popular YouTubers of the year in a video called YouTube Rewind. While these are usually rather popular among its viewers, 2018’s YouTube Rewind was anything but. In fact, it became the most disliked YouTube video with 15 million dislikes as of January 10th. How could something this popular have become such a flop so quickly?

As explained by the Washington Post, the YouTube Rewind has gradually evolved from an entertaining recap of the year to almost an ad for YouTube itself. One of the main criticisms by people is that the video almost seemed to feature trends but lacked a majority of the popular YouTubers that people love to watch. The YouTube Rewind simply lacked the YouTube element in the video. Rather than including famous YouTubers like Pewdiepie or Shane Dawson, YouTube took a different route altogether. However, they based almost the entire video on certain trends like Fortnite, which arguably is not even part of YouTube. Grace Kim (12) argues that the “YouTube Rewind didn’t take an in-depth look at 2018. 2018 was more than just Fortnite and the ‘In My Feelings’ challenge.” On top of that, the whole video seemed to lack any sort of connection to the viewers, explaining why it was a complete failure. One of the fundamental things people know about entertainment is that it must appeal to its audience; this Rewind is a perfect example of what happens when there is a lack of connection between the creator and the audience.

What I found to be most ironic about the video was that it was called “Everyone Controls Rewind,” but it seemed as though not one YouTuber actually controlled the concepts and content in the video. Obviously, what makes YouTubers so successful is that they create content that is interesting and intriguing to their viewers. It makes one question if all these creators could control the Rewind, would it turn out better? Maybe YouTube should actually consult the opinions of well-known YouTubers when making future Rewind. This way, they will be able to accurately depict what was actually important in the year and can be more personalized to the YouTubers themselves; because based on where it’s heading, YouTube Rewind may meet its end if it does not start re-focusing on the truly important aspect of YouTube: the creators.

Thousands of YouTubers spend hours every week to create creative, informative, and inspiring videos for all their viewers. Therefore, I believe the Rewind should not necessarily emphasize the trends of the year but rather the creators themselves, as a thank-you for all of their hard work and contributions.