The Brief: The 2018 YouTube Rewind is a video conglomeration of some of the top moments and creators on YouTube in the past year.
The YouTube 2018 rewind video, which is produced by YouTube features dozens of international creators, memes, and pop-culture references rolled into one eight-minute video. YouTubers featured in the video included Will Smith, Ninja, Lele Pons, The Dolan Twins, James Charles, Liza Koshy, Emma Chamberlain, The Try Guys, Casey Neistat, and Gabbie Hanna. The video references Fortnite, Kpop, Mukbangs, ASMR, the royal wedding, emotes, flossing, and the Shiggy Challenge.
Notably absent from the video were popular creators such as PewDiePie, Shane Dawson, Logan Paul, Jake Paul, David Dobrick, and KSI. The video was also devoid of any cursing, sexual, controversial or inappropriate content or creators.
Although the YouTube Rewind video received over 100 million views and is generally positive and inclusive, it has faced a significant backlash in the form of reaction videos, memes, and dislikes. At the time this was written, the video has 7.6 million dislikes and only two million likes, making it the second most disliked YouTube video of all time.
It seems that the 2018 YouTube Rewind was more of a promotional video meant to appeal to advertisers than anything else. The video itself, and the backlash it received highlight discrepancies between the culture of YouTube’s creator community, and the image that the platform is trying to publicly present
Creators want YouTube Rewind to be a celebration of YouTubers and the biggest/best stuff on the platform that year.
YouTube wants Rewind to be a couple minutes they can show to advertisers and say “look at all the great stuff over here that you want to spend your dollars on!”
— Marques Brownlee (@MKBHD) December 10, 2018
Some YouTube Rewind memes directly reference and critique the video while others use exploitable formats from the video for other purposes.