IS IT LOVE? THE PERPLEXITY OF YOUTUBE COUPLES
I am strangely obsessed with Youtube breakups. Not because I am overly cynical or bitter, but just because it’s so interesting to watch two humans part ways publicly and open up their romantic lives for the general public online. I don’t watch Youtube couples channels for fun, I watch the breakup videos because Twitter and Buzzfeed promote them, and then I go back to watch their actual couple videos on my fake investigative journalist behavior to see if I (a person that has never met or spoken to either of these people ever in my life, and know nothing about them apart from their social media presence) can figure out how it happened.
A sort of well-known celebrity breakup that blew up on the internet happened last year, with rapper Logic and his wife Jessica. They got divorced after two years of marriage. Jessica has her own Youtube channel, and she would regularly post videos with the “husband tag”. At that point in my life, I had never listened to a single Logic song. At this point in my life, I still have never heard a single Logic song. I’m also not really sure what Jessica does. She sings? Or does some kind of… makeup? No clue. But that doesn’t matter to me. What interested me were the videos on Jessica’s channel with her then-husband - adorable, couple-y vlogs of the two of them looking very much in love as they did cute things like the “Bean Boozled Challenge”, record themselves going on road trips together, and even vlogging swimming with sharks during their honeymoon. I am insane, so I watched about two hours of these videos and previous interviews with Logic where he talks about how lucky he is to have found “the one” at his age, and about how assured he feels about being with his partner for life.
The parts of Jessica and Logic’s romantic lives they showcased on Youtube are pretty mild compared to the videos made by famous Youtube couples and other influencers. I’ve watched some harsh breakup videos online - people opening up every facet of their relationships to viewers online and exposing themselves and their previous partners by sharing every flaw, cheating scandal, and betrayal they had dating each other. In many ways, it’s so much more entertaining than any kind of romantic drama you can watch on television because of how unscripted these things are (or at least they seem to be). It’s wild to imagine real humans out in the world living their normal lives, but also basically archiving their relationships online for anyone to see. It would freak me out to have so much private and deeply personal information about myself to be readily accessible for anyone to observe, and I don’t think I would ever volunteer to show these parts of my life for likes or subscribers.
Sometimes I wonder if any of these internet couples actually love each other, or if they’re just in love with filming elaborate pranks and games. Maybe they’re very lonely and putting their relationship online makes it feel more real for them. Maybe they just want Youtube viewership money and clout. Maybe serial dating is their one true talent. I’m overthinking it. I don’t know, I might just find someone on Tinder and start a channel with them. We’ll begin by filming ourselves eating bagels together on the F train, and then lead up to an eighty-minute live stream talking about why we broke up, in which we just make up grand stories of treachery and deceit and yell at each other, and then talk about how we’ll still always be friends. Hopefully, this will get us a decent amount of subscribers. I’ll use the money to buy tickets to a Logic concert.