On Friday morning, YouTube announced the second annual iteration of its YouTube Video Awards. What? Awards?
The video-sharing service, owned by Google since 2006, awarded accolades in categories like "Adorable," "Creative," and "Comedy" to original videos hosted on its site that were uploaded in 2007, as voted on by users. The prizes, per YouTube, are "bragging rights, a trophy, and a special invitation to an event later this year."
Okay, so the videos are kind of amusing. The "Adorable" category winner is a video of a baby who falls over every time he laughs (wonder what'll happen when his friends find out about that in 10 years), the "Creative" winner is that "Human Tetris" thing you've seen a million times, and the "Music" winner is none other than that "Chocolate Rain" video that everyone was watching last year.
But the culture of YouTube doesn't really lend itself that well to awards. YouTube, for better or worse, is a cultural hub rather than strictly a creative outpost; there's plenty of cool, original content there, and it's no surprise that Google would want to highlight the good stuff rather than the goofy prank videos and pirated content that propelled it to the upper echelon of the Web.
Content on YouTube, however, doesn't necessarily become popular because it's high-quality or original--just look at the Rickroll phenomenon, an '80s music video that has been seen millions of times because people get a kick out of tricking their friends into watching it. Or the current hot clip, a British public service announcement with a hilarious twist.
Or, for that matter, this week's number-one YouTube video: Barack Obama's most recent speech.