From Zoella to James Charles, many of the world’s most famous YouTubers have posted videos apologizing for their past or current behavior.
These apology videos draw tremendous attention and can garner millions of views.
For example, Logan Paul’s apology video for his insensitivity to a dead body has been viewed 61 million times since 2018, while Elle Darby’s apology video for racist tweets she wrote as a teenager has been viewed 1.2 million times in just six months.
Now, researchers at Columbia College in Chicago have unveiled the most effective strategies for creating these videos, which have come to be known as “YouTuber apology videos.”
Their results suggest that creators who ask for forgiveness should appear natural and apologize four times, while having a large number of subscribers helps.
Apology videos draw tremendous attention, with Logan Paul’s apology video about his insensitivity to a dead body garnering more than 61 million views
The Art of the Apology Video
– Present yourself naturally, without make-up and with natural clothing
– Promise to improve
– Focus on killing
– Don’t use denial
– Apologize four times and at least once by the three minute mark
Apology videos from YouTubers have become increasingly popular in recent years, including PewDiePie’s “My Response,” in which he apologized for using the N-word in a live stream, and Logan Paul’s “So Sorry,” in which he apologized for using it apologized for filming a hanged corpse in Japan’s “Suicide Forest”.
Despite this, the effect of YouTube apology videos has so far remained largely unexplored.
“Many professional and amateur YouTubers are apologizing for their past and current behavior, which has led to the creation of a new media genre called the YouTube apology video,” the team, led by Grace Choi, wrote in their study, published in Public Relations Review .
“Despite the abundance of these videos, their impact is still questionable to understand the magnitude of this online apology.”
In their study, the researchers examined the message construction, strategies, sincerity, and forgiveness of YouTubers’ apology videos.
The team analyzed the content of 117 videos, including video length, views, comments, production level, appearance and message.
Elle Darby’s apology video after racist tweets she wrote as a teenager has been viewed 1.2 million times in just six months
In their study, the researchers examined the message construction, strategies, sincerity, and forgiveness of YouTubers’ apology videos. Pictured: PewDiePie’s apology video after saying the N-word in a livestream
Their analysis revealed that the majority of YouTubers who posted apology videos were white males, while most wore “house clothes” and no makeup.
“Although these videos appeared to be rendered to appear natural, with most videos using a natural light source and no music, they contained digital edits and self-promotion that suggested YouTubers were in control of their apology message,” the researchers wrote .
The most popular topic for the videos was “content issues,” while 40 percent promised to improve.
Regarding repair strategies, the most common method was mortification (70 percent), while denial was only seen in 24 percent of the videos.
“Given that these are creators whose lives are in the spotlight and who can easily be followed on social media, it makes sense that denial is not a cheap strategy when used against social media,” they said researcher.
When it came to the all-important apology, YouTubers specifically said “sorry” after an average of three minutes and four times per video.
Unfortunately for smaller YouTubers, it seems viewers are more forgiving if they’re already subscribed.
“Our results suggest that previous connections with the YouTuber increased viewers’ chance of forgiveness and perceived sincerity was the predictor of forgiveness,” the researchers wrote.
The team hopes the results will prove useful to both creators and their viewers.
“Analyzing these videos by content and media effects will help professionals, academics, viewers and content creators to critically question these videos and assess YouTube’s impact on crisis communications,” they concluded.
YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim condemned the platform’s decision to remove dislikes
Jawed Karim, one of YouTube’s three founders, has criticized the platform’s decision to remove the dislike count on videos, which he says will turn YouTube into a place “where everything is mediocre” and lead to its demise.
YouTube’s decision, made earlier this month, obscures the number of times other users have clicked the “thumbs-down” icon under videos to express their displeasure.
According to YouTube, the change will prevent groups of malicious YouTube users from intentionally stalking other users by increasing the number of dislikes in their videos — what’s known as “coordinated dislike attacks.”
But according to Karim, the ability to easily and quickly identify bad content is “an essential feature” on YouTube, and removing this feature could lead to the site’s demise.
Karim vented his frustration by editing the description of the first-ever video uploaded to YouTube, entitled Me at the Zoo, in which he appears as a 25-year-old.