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The Fast Growing Genre of Video Essays
< > Man coming out of immersion in youtube, binary code and a brain x-ray can be seen to demonstrate knowledge gaining from the experience, also small sections around with different franchises to show the ever expanding sources for video essays.

   Video essays are ways for people to explain the way they see the world, the way that they are able to take pieces and put them together like a puzzle to look at the bigger picture.  

     They serve as gateways to delve deeper into the complexity of people’s favorite shows and movies, etc. They are wellsprings of inspiration and daydreaming. They aren’t just passive entertainment; they’re educational tools that enrich literary knowledge and comprehension. 



What is a video essay and why consume it? 

     Nowadays people are much more inclined to listen to video essays, otherwise known as a ‘Deep Dive’, than they were in the past. This is due to how easy social media has made it to consume this content, as well as the algorithm pushing it forward to these people.  

     People are different. Naturally they all have different tastes on those types of videos. Sixteen-year-old sophomore, Willow Matos, said that she doesn’t care what the video essay she watches is about. She simply watches whichever one the algorithm recommends for her, saying ,“I end up finding it entertaining regardless of the content.” 

     Ame Daou, a senior, explained, ‘‘One day I got a video essay about a virus that shut down some computers in the past recommended on YouTube. I clicked on it at like 11 p.m. and watched it and filled myself with paranoia for the rest of the night. I continued to watch video essays on topics that could scare me a bit. Whatever YouTube gives I take.’’  

   Senior Mariana Cardenas started watching video essays one day when she was searching for a video-review on an episode of the Netflix series ‘BoJack Horseman’, but instead found a video essay on it. The video analyzed the episode in great detail. 

     Usually, people like video essays that focus on picking apart a topic, its history, its past, along with other things that change depending on the topic. Melani Garcia, a junior, says, “I like crime or fantasy, but I also like world history and any mythology video essays.” 


When did it start to gain popularity? 

     Video essays began to gain popularity in the mid-2000s, their rise coinciding with the growth of online video-sharing platforms like YouTube. Since 2012, when Youtube began to prioritize watch-time over views, the genre began flourishing. The genre was always popular, if you knew how to look. However, the algorithm didn’t help find videos connected to your interests as well back in the day as it does now. 

     Many Miami High students began watching video essays between 2020-2021, and they haven’t stopped since. For example, Mariana Cardenas, a senior, explains that she has been avidly watching these videos for around 4 to 5 years. 


How do video essays influence others? 

     For Alessa Digenti, a sophomore, the appeal of video essays lies in their ability to make even the most specific topics interesting and engaging. While she doesn’t necessarily apply the knowledge she gains from them in her day-to-day life, she sees them as a source of interesting facts to share with others. 


     She has a passion for the obscure, and she also enjoys writing stories, this means that video essays going over the complexity of dark topics interest her, and sometimes the commentary can even help her come out of a writer’s block and know what is missing from her writing. These videos can even help expand her knowledge on a topic if she plans on writing something that requires her to have extensive knowledge on what it is she’s writing. 


The Intersection between Education and Ambiance 

     Erin Busch, an eighteen-year-old senior, turns to video essays for both education and ambiance, utilizing them as a productive backdrop for her assignments. While she may not always pay full attention, the knowledge she gains from video essays has a direct application in her aspirations to enter the game creation industry. Her experiences reflect the versatility of video essays, serving as a resource for both leisurely engagement and professional growth. 

     When it comes to Willow’s viewing habits, she admits that her attention can waver, but she enjoys the content, nonetheless. While she may not always apply the knowledge directly to her daily life, she appreciates the unique perspective that video essays provide. 

     Mariana Cardenas, however, is an avid video essay enjoyer. Mariana believes she has gained valuable knowledge from the content she consumes. “I do believe I learn from them because the type I watch aids me in increasing my literature knowledge and comprehension,” she says. Moreover, Mariana encourages others to explore video essays, especially if they want to delve deeper into subjects they love. 

     She also applies the knowledge she gains from video essays to her daily life, using it to improve her creative writing skills, enhance her understanding of history, and gain insights into human psychology. 

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