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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”
http://www.reddit.com/r/videos/comments/qylyk/did_i_win/c41lmqr

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 Vine: Record 6 Second Looping Clips & Share Them With Friends Online Vine: Record 6 Second Looping Clips & Share Them With Friends Online Read More , no HowtoBasic or similar comedy series videos 3+ Hilarious Comedy Web Series You Can Watch For Free [Stuff to Watch] 3+ Hilarious Comedy Web Series You Can Watch For Free [Stuff to Watch] You Suck At Photoshop is still one of the best and most complete web-series ever made – watch it, and more. Read More , no compilations, and no death videos. All this serves to keeps things focused, but on what?

youtube-haiku-rules

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…

Absurd talents

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.

Unexpected advice

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.

Animal communication

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.

Animated Haikus

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 TubeChop: Chop and Share Parts From YouTube Vids TubeChop: Chop and Share Parts From YouTube Vids Read More  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.

tubechop1

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 5 YouTube Vlogs To Put On Your Web Video Watching List 5 YouTube Vlogs To Put On Your Web Video Watching List I know that in the mid-to-late 2000's, vlogs ruled the Internet with the purest form of free speech in the world. However, even though we're in a totally different decade, I'm pretty confident that vlogging... Read More  rank higher? What about Unboxing Videos? Why do so many people love those kinds of videos when you could be seeing thought-provoking documentaries 8 Free Thought-Provoking Documentaries To Watch On YouTube [Stuff to Watch] 8 Free Thought-Provoking Documentaries To Watch On YouTube [Stuff to Watch] You've no doubt watched a movie or two on YouTube by now. Whether it was uploaded by the original studio or a miscreant sharing someone else's hard work; the streaming video behemoth is full of... Read More  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!

  1. Jackson
    December 20, 2014 at 6:37 am

    Like poetry, you either get it or you don't, right? I honestly didn't know these existed. Even now, I'm lost for words.

    Vine, anyone?

    • Jessica C
      December 25, 2014 at 7:16 am

      It's a weird culture, clipping small moments of video. I make no claims to get it, though. And at times I wonder if it kills the joke to say anything about it.

      The first few Vines I ever saw were all loud and obnoxious, so I stopped watching them. Just me?

  2. Rob
    December 19, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    Lol, this is pretty... odd. Especially the bike one. That bike one is just.... whaaat?

    • Jessica C
      December 25, 2014 at 7:11 am

      Tell me about it. That first bike, that was operated by spinning the handles instead of pedaling though, was really cool.

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