Adele, a 16-year-old honors student from Milwaukee, regularly watches YouTube videos like most kids her age. While watching the videos, she signs in as “smileychik33”, and often comments on each video after watching it.
“It’s clearly very important to have an opinion about each video you watch, and to share that opinion with the entire world,” she says. She explains that youth have grown up knowing how important it is that they share their voice and opinion with the rest of of the world by leaving comments and rating certain videos, no matter what endlessly shifting criteria they choose to use to rate them.
“Usually, you either write “LOL” or some combination of letters that make it obvious you’re laughing hysterically if you like the video, or you write something scathing and personally offensive,” Adele further explains. “The more you can personally insult both the people involved in the video project and the other people who have commented on it, the more effective your post is. Grammar, spelling, punctuation and factual evidence are not important.”
Last week, however, Adele-under her username “smileychik33”- decided to leave a comment under a video that was neither scathing nor a compliment. She simply wrote, “Watched it. Fine.”
Though the inclusion of the word “fine” may seem like she was approving of it, she assuredly answers that “fine” is neutral in the world of the internet. The attention-starved people who regularly put up and comment on videos need much more than “fine” to feel like their work has been approved of.
Her lack of opinion sent shockwaves throughout the YouTube community. A wave of other users immediately began to insult her neutrality, forcing her to take a side one way or another on the video so they could better come to rash decisions about how they felt about not only the video, but about her as a human being. After the wave of insults came another wave of users who defended Adele’s comment and retorted insults to those who were insulting her in the first place.
As the digital debate rages on, Adele remains neutral. “The video was fine. Nothing great, nothing horrible. Just fine. I refuse to add anything else to my comment,” she states.
For many YouTube users, however, her neutrality is “waiii not wiked kewl” and some consider her a “b^!@#”.