Having given up on YouTube I may have inadvertently found my way forward with the platform (At least until it sinks.) What I’m playing with now at first blush may seem half moronic, but I actually believe could be an invaluable tool in the tech industry and for professionals in general.
I was introduced to Mukbangs a few years ago as my wife was trying to figure out a dietary regime that would improve her health. After her cancers she was still having odd and distressing symptoms that the doctors would shrug their shoulders at, and she found through trial and error that certain foods made her feel better, and other made her feel miserable. She sent to YouTube in the same spirit so many go to YouTube to find people like her, and listen to what they had to say. One of the people she ran across was Mommy Tang who create video’s in the Mukbang tradition (Can we start calling niches of YouTube “traditions”yet?). Mommy Tang would sit down with a lunch of Korean food and then just start telling random life stories. She’d talk about her kids, or how she met her husband. It wasn’t overly useful for what my wife was looking for, but was surprisingly entertaining. When I looked into Mommy Tang I found that this wasn’t just some really weird Tiger Mom, but was rather a standard type of content created by South Koreans. Quartz did a piece on Mukbangs and one of their explanations is:
One explanation, a somewhat grim one, is that mukbang is the apotheosis of humankind’s trajectory away from face to face interaction. Michael Hurt, director of cultural studies at the Busan University of Foreign Studies, told Quartz: “[Mukbang] is a part of the spectacle culture in the sense of [French Marxist] Guy Debord [author of Society of the Spectacle]. Korea is a society of the spectacle, and it’s gotten to the point where social interaction can’t happen—can barely be understood—without being mediated in some way.” He adds that in the Korean context, mukbang is not so peculiar. “They have a different understanding of how media is used,” he said. “It’s become truly a part of life.”
How this fits into my life is that I’ve become rather busy, and have found that while YouTube is not where my future is that it’s still a valuable tool for advertising FailedNormal.com. Whenever I do a live stream I’ll get between 5,000-10,000 viewers which I would be half stupid to dismiss as a form of advertising. With my schedule it’s hard though. I have to write posts, do research, exercise, eat lunch, and do a few other things in the work day. Trying to find the 2 extra hours for a show is hard. I was thinking about this when I was making lunch the other day. I wanted to do a live stream, but lamented that lunch would take at least another 30 minutes, then I thought… why not just eat lunch while I do the live stream? I’m already phoning in my videos for YouTube anyway, would eating while streaming really be so much worse?
So now I start cooking my lunch, and brew my coffee. As lunch is cooking I do the back end admin setup for the live stream, and then when the foods ready sit down and start streaming. It’s kinda like a modern version of a business lunch. I say my bit, then shove some food in while scanning the chat stream for interesting things to respond to. When I finish eating I can then enjoy my coffee as I keep chatting. It’s really not nearly as horrible as it may seem at first blush.
What I find interesting about this idea is that I’m really only doing what the western world already thinks is acceptable just in a new way. Grabbing a cup of coffee or lunch with someone is a tried and true way to network. Why not turn it into a web based experience? Imagine the possibilities for communication and understanding.
Think about an astrophysicist who would chat with viewers over their lunch break and talk about what their day really looks like. Imagine a bioengineer ranting over a sandwich over their experiment failing for the 20th time. Think about Trump 2.0 digging into a steak, as they tear apart new legislation they think is idiotic. This is a way for real professionals to be able to communicate in a way that humanizes them. The are ties off. The filters are down a bit more. They can communicate and be communicated with in a way that was near impossible even a few years ago.
I’m excited for my Mukbangs, and I’d recommend professionals at least ponder the idea. When tech people talk about communication anymore it’s always centered around privacy, encryption, and ways to close unwanted people out. Mukbangs are the antithesis of this. How can you communicate with MORE people more HONESTLY? Imagine if more professionals had a way to just say it like it is….
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