If you thought TV gave people a short attention span, we’ve got news for you.
Look no further for quick, surefire laughs than the Internet phenomenon known as the “YouTube Haiku”. I’ll give you the lowdown on the origins of the term, showcase amazing examples of these comedic and poetic gems, then give you an easy way to make your own.
What Is A YouTube Haiku?
According to buttkingpro3000, the Reddit user who coined the term, a YouTube Haiku is,
“any almost poetic video under 14 seconds”
Here’s an example he included:
Redditors loved the concept, and so the Youtube Haiku sub-reddit was born.
What makes a YouTube video “poetic”? It’s somewhat hard to nail down. The /r/youtubehaiku sub-reddit has many rules: no scripted movie/TV videos, no 6-second Vine videos, no HowtoBasic or similar comedy series videos, no compilations, and no death videos. All this serves to keeps things focused, but on what?
The 14 Second Limit
When I first read that the YouTube Haiku had to be 14 seconds or shorter, I balked. I thought, “That’s arbitrary.” So I sought an enlightened understanding of the way of the YouTube Haiku, watching more examples than anyone probably should in the process.
I’m not even sure how many I’ve seen.
But somewhere around my 20th YouTube Haiku I came to see the wisdom in buttkingpro3000’s rule of 14 seconds, and so will you.
Past fourteen seconds
videos, once poetic,
drag on. We get it.
Now, returning from my quest, I bring you the best of the videos I came across in my travels. Join me: I promise it won’t take long.
What Counts As ‘Poetic’
One of the tenets of the YouTube Haiku sub-reddit is that videos of say, kids falling down, aren’t particularly poetic. Kids fall down a lot. Showing their underdeveloped balance or motor control doesn’t really say anything about the human condition (and it can be kind of mean).
I know what you’re thinking: the next video is a Trust Fall Fail video. One person is supposed to catch another, and it’s not going to work out. But I ask you to trust me and watch it anyway.
Sometimes YouTube videos, like people, just don’t go the way you think they will. The lesson: irony can make a run-of-the-mill ‘fail’ clip into poetry.
Examples Of YouTube Haikus
Epic moments caught on video
Congratulations, guy-with-frisbee-and-a-neat-wall-to-throw-it-against! We may not know how many takes it took to get that right (or if he can repeat it easily), but thanks to YouTube, we can see it again, and again…
The quality on this video is poor, but this man’s… talent… is so unusual I had to include it.
Bet you can’t sing Happy Birthday backwards and confirm it with a retro-keyboard for the denizens of the Internet while shirtless.
Surreal hiding spots
How many times have people watched Pen Head shake pens from his hair? More than 1.6 million.
Look at this robot-face. What kind of advice might he have to bestow upon humanity?
(Advice not endorsed by MakeUseOf).
The combination of the voice and the advice and the image is unexpected, to say the least.
Ever feel like some animals can express deep love and affection? Some can.
Others have no such love or affection to express.
It’ll take just a bit more than 14 seconds to peel back the layers to this pug video poetry.
I think the music says it all.
This sort of thing happens all the time at work, doesn’t it?
What, how do you get to the first floor? The stairs? But crashing through the ceiling is so much faster.
Last but not least, I want to show you what an animated YouTube Haiku can look like.
The YouTube Haiku sub-reddit has a policy of no scripted media, so collages like this work well. You can learn more about the “When I’m X”/”When I’m Bored” video-remix meme on KnowYourMeme.com.
Make Your Own YouTube Haiku
Looking for a way to chop and share YouTube video parts for you own Haikus to contribute to the YouTube Haiku sub-reddit? Give TubeChop a try and you’ll be posting your own YouTube Haikus without having to download any video editing software.
What’s Your Take?
What’s your favourite type of video on YouTube, and where does the YouTube Haiku rank on the hierarchy? Do vlogs (video logs) on YouTube rank higher? What about Unboxing Videos? Why do so many people love those kinds of videos when you could be seeing thought-provoking documentaries instead?
Do you think such short YouTube videos can be high art or expression, or do you find them dumb and pointless clutter to your Facebook feeds? Most importantly, isn’t it just beautiful that a person with a handle like “buttkingpro3000” can become a moderating authority on haikus and poetry in the digital world?
Let us know what you think in the comments below!