Kevin Allocca, trends manager for YouTube, once stated “audience defines popularity” for videos on YouTube. This statement rings true for the spoken word pieces “Don’t Stay in School” and “Why I hate School but Love Education.” Several factors combined to make these pieces viral, but applicability to the audience is the most traceable reason. These videos directly resonate with emotions experienced by potential audience members, emotions that are fresh for most viewers. The majority of visitors to YouTube are 18 or older. This means they are still in school, have recently finished school, or will soon be sending their own progeny to school. The discussion of how to make the most of school is applicable because of its impact on multiple generations.
With increases in the capabilities of personal technology, getting one’s opinion heard is possible, easy compared to what it once was. People with like opinions can now find each other with greater ease. These videos on the education system gained such popularity because they express the opinions of many people. Humans, gifted with limited time, highly value it. The prospect of wasting time in any way is despicable in American society. These videos play on this innate dislike of wasting time by arguing how school, as it is now practiced, wastes time.
Suli Breaks (Creator of “Why I hate School but Love Education”) touches on the idea that school itself is not a waste, but rather going through school without a purpose is. This is in contrast with the creator of the other video who argues more specifically that school does not teach material of direct importance to everyday life. A successful student can get out of a learning opportunity whatever they need. Subjects in school that seem useless may prove the most beneficial because they teach a person to think in new ways. Schools emphasize grades; it is up to students as individuals to decide if they will let grades define them or find success for themselves in subjects they explore.