Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Read this: Using data to analyze the phenomenon of YouTube apology videos

Illustration for article titled Read this: Using data to analyze the phenomenon of YouTube apology videos
Screenshot: YouTube

The YouTube apology video’s become something of an artform, having been deployed so often that people are dressing up as them at conventions. If you’ve seen more than one, then you’ve probably recognized a relatively familiar format that goes something like this:


“...Hey, guys. [INSERT NAME] here. So...I’ve been hearing a lot of feedback for some recent choices of mine regarding [RACIST SPEECH, INSENSITIVITY, AND/OR IRRESPONSIBLE BEHAVIOR]. I just wanted to take a second to address this stuff, and let my fam out there know how deeply, truly sorry I am. [OPTIONAL: BEGIN TO CRY]”

Well, some folks at The Pudding, who analyze culture through some pretty neat visual essays, decided to apply some good ol’ fashioned data analysis to a number of the most famous (and infamous) YouTuber apologies over the past few years. “All sorts of celebrities have controversies that end with public apologies. But few have to shit where they eat—so to speak—like YouTubers. Plus, there’s data,” they write, and subsequently show us in impressive detail.


The Puddling analyzed 34 “vlogpologies” including some all-time hits like Logan Paul and his “suicide forest” whoopsie; Laura Lee’s old racist tweets which resurfaced during a feud with Jeffree Star (who’s got their own apology, too); and Jenna Marbles’ “improper care of her new fish.” Apologies were then categorized by topic—Insensitive Video, YouTuber Beef, Racist Comments, Character Allegations, Exploiting Audiences, and Miscellaneous awfulness. Additionally, YouTuber’s channel views were charted for the 90 days leading up to their controversy, then the 180 days after they publicly said they were oh-so-sorry.

The results? Beauty vloggers appear to be the most likely to require a public apology at some point, and audiences seem to like it when a personality posts a single, long video monologue as opposed to those annoying, choppy, dizzying edits that YouTubers seem to love so much. Also, surprise surprise—people seem to prefer it when said vlogpology isn’t a blatant shilling for a new product.


The Pudding also compiled a handy-dandy YouTube playlist of apologies, for the morbidly curious among you. Now, if no one minds, could somebody please explain to us what a “Jenna Marbles” is?

Andrew Paul is a contributing writer with work recently featured by NBC Think, GQ, Slate, Rolling Stone, and McSweeney's Internet Tendency. He writes the newsletter, (((Echo Chamber))).

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