Watch me watch: Understanding watching reaction videos.

You have been frequently watching videos from platforms such as YouTube or TikTok, odds are you have come across videos with titles such as, “REACTING TO…” or “Funny reactions of…”.

This genre of videos is called “reaction videos”, namely a video displaying the reaction of people towards another video clip. The creators, or “reactors”, provide their comments both verbally and non-verbally with, sometimes, overexaggerated facial expressions. There are reaction videos to almost anything: video games, movie trailers, full-length anime episodes, and music videos. Genre-dedicated channels can get hundreds of thousands of subscribers and millions of views per video. These channels essentially create pockets of communities where viewers are able to identify with the creators. More often than not, viewers are sharing the exact same emotion with the reactor. This type of voyeurism scratches an itch, whether it’s a secondhand thrill or embarrassment, or the joy of watching your own emotive response on someone else.

This research aims to understand not only the motivations behind viewing these videos but the participatory culture that it embodies. There is much to be gained from these observations and through this project we hope to develop a platform that allows both creators and viewers to interact on a larger scale.

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