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Why YouTubers reacting to TikTok videos are the new rage during lockdown

If you love TikTok, have you watched YouTube vloggers’ reactions to TikTok videos? Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and isolation with people browsing with a vengeance to be the first to send a forward for a good laugh, these YouTube videos are quite the life-saver.

The lockdown period all around the globe has also seen a huge swell of TikTok videos of solo-dancing, pranks on family members and roommates, as well as dubbed videos from famous scenes of reality television shows, movies and songs — all of which have the cringe factor.

The YouTube reaction videos to the TikTok content are fun if you love puns and have a good sense of humour. The infinite scroll feature of the Internet can offer great things; you can chance upon new books, quirky accounts on social media and, sometimes, you will end up on an interesting page that promises to make you an overnight expert in their given topic.

A screenshot from Namaste Korea’s YouTube video ‘Indian Tik Tok Reaction by Koreans’ on 15 Jan 2020

A screenshot from Namaste Korea’s YouTube video ‘Indian Tik Tok Reaction by Koreans’ on 15 Jan 2020
| Photo Credit:
Namaste Korea / YouTube

I experienced the terms ‘the web sucks you in’ and ‘deep dive’ when I realised I had spent an entire Sunday afternoon watching vlogs on YouTube. What started with a link forwarded by a friend saw me finishing all the videos by that particular vlogger that very afternoon. By evening, I was not just an expert on the vlogger’s choice of characters and style of video making, I also discovered more vloggers and, finally, stumbled upon react-to, the peppy short-form videos in the ByteDance-owned platform.

The reaction genre of online videos was made famous by US-based YouTubers, the Fine Brothers. In 2015, they even tried to trademark the term ‘react’, which set off netizens’ and content creators’ collective fury. Also not on TikTok, is the unbeatable YouTuber Kalen Allen who got famous overnight after making his first sass-filled food reaction video. There is no questionable recipe to which Kalen hasn’t reacted to. Plus, this discussion would be incomplete without mentioning YouTube series Pretentious Movie Reviews. Comedians Biswa Kalyan Rath and Kannan Gill who started roasting movie scenes and songs from ’80s and ’90s rocked YouTube netizens’ feeds from 2014 to 2017.

A worthy time-pass?

When it comes to reactions to TikTok videos, Mahesh Keshwala — popularly known for his YouTube channel Thugesh — takes the cake. With more than 4,87,000 YouTube subscribers, Thugesh makes sure he shoots reaction videos that cover a cross-section of topics; his reactions to TikTok content run in three episodes. The collection of reactions shows the amount of time he spent on the Chinese video-sharing social network platform. The chaste Hindi and his style of interaction comes across as honest. Thugesh is ruthless and doesn’t hold back even when it comes to doing a number on himself at times.

“Reaction videos are fun because we just have to react to what we see,” says Sarbajit Sarkar aka Ranautneel. The 24-year-old TikTok star from Tripura mostly does eye-catching yet easy DIY recreations of celebrity dressing. “Instead of reactions, I like to recreate original videos in my style. I love watching reaction videos, but I think I am too small in the vlogging circuit to do reaction videos. My favourite reaction videos are make-up tutorials.”

A screenshot of Viraj Ghelani with TikTok-er Bhuvan Bam in a YouTube video ‘Types of TikTok Users’ on 5 March 2019

A screenshot of Viraj Ghelani with TikTok-er Bhuvan Bam in a YouTube video ‘Types of TikTok Users’ on 5 March 2019
| Photo Credit:
Fliter Copy / YouTube

Speaking of TikTok India and dancer videos, it is worth spending some time watching Korean YouTubers react to Indian dance videos — one can browse through the Namaste Korea YouTube channel, which has more than 59,200 subscribers.

What makes reaction videos popular? “Literally everyone cringes at TikTok videos,” says Mumbai-based YouTuber-actor-comedian Viraj Ghelani, who is known to be one of the popular faces on FilterCopy. He also feels that reaction videos are a distraction from the depressing news around us. “Reaction videos make us relate to it. More often than not when we see videos especially on TikTok, the first reaction is ‘why’ and the vlogger’s reaction videos act as an outlet to that emotion.”

A screenshot from Tanmay Bhatt’s video ‘India Reacts to Corona - Insane Cringe’ on 23 March 2020

A screenshot from Tanmay Bhatt’s video ‘India Reacts to Corona – Insane Cringe’ on 23 March 2020
| Photo Credit:
Tanmay Bhatt / YouTube

If one has to discuss TikTok reaction videos and creativity, Tanmay Bhatt aces it with his focus on background laughter and songs. In his March 22 video ‘TikTok reacts to Corona Virus – Insane Cringe,’ he explains that if TikTok was a movie, then the movie will be packed with 27,000 songs.

So, are we discovering more reaction videos these days? “In a way, yes. Practically everyone is on the phone looking for content. Vloggers are busier than ever to meet the demand. How the Internet works is interesting; any old video resurfaces when one person clicks or comments on it,” concludes Viraj.

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