The Empty-Bottle Hour of YouTube Parties

April 23, 2013 by Jen

Not belonging to the iPhone generation is a real disadvantage sometimes. It’s worse than having a clock that is perpetually 34 minutes slow. (Yeah. I still use clocks to tell time.) By the time I come across an Internet phenomenon, everyone else has already seen it.

Who knew that someone other than me found “Thrift Shop” amusing? Wait, The Harlem Shake is a thing? What are “Real Beauty sketches“? To put it simply, I always arrive at the empty-bottle hour of YouTube parties.

Allow me to explain.

The party planners are the ones who find a particular video or blog post when it only has 10 views, six of which are Aunt June and two of which are the creator him/herself. They set the stage, pick the music, and roll up the carpet.

The early birds find it when it first goes viral. They set up camp around the snack table, where they Instagram everything that is edible and pass the video phenomenon to their networks of 30, 80, or 2,000 Twitter followers. They don’t bother with Facebook; it’s so 2005.

Then the Huffington Post arrives at the party, and the real crowd shows up. They crank the music, pass around the Facebook “likes” and “shares,” and create masses and masses of karaoke-style tribute renditions that they videotape on their iPhone.

The cool crew shows up late because they don’t consider the original party worth their time. There are still snacks and drinks left, but they’re not worried. These are the parody and mock-up creators (“Dove Real Beauty Sketches – Men“) who use Macs exclusively and sneer at anyone who still finds the original amusing or touching.

Then there’s me. By the time I arrive, it’s the empty-bottle hour. The hosts have closed the front door and the party has moved to the basement to avoid angering the neighbors. The snack table has been decimated, and the recycling bin is full.

Today was a perfect example. After several weeks with the link sitting in my inbox, I finally got around to watching a poetry slam video called “The Crickets Have Arthritis.” Everyone else in my social scene had already seen it. It was old news. And yet, because it was beautifully written and powerfully delivered, I had to post it on Twitter anyway. Sometimes, even if you arrive at empty-bottle hour, the music is so good you have to stay and dance for a song or two, even if everyone else has gone home or is asleep on the couch.

Those are the parties that are worth attending.

Hey, by the way – have you heard about this song called Gangnam Style? It’s pretty great.

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