A Defense of Commenting ‘First!’ on YouTube Videos and Why People Do It

PBS Idea Channel host Mike Rugnetta looks at the phenomenon of people commenting “First!” on YouTube videos. Rugnetta provides a defense of the habit, and breaks down possible reasons why people do it and even the significance the behavior has on interactions in comment sections.

Like a sheet white winter field covered in a fresh layer of snow, unperturbed by man, there stands, if for only the briefest of moments, the empty youtube comment section. That is: empty until some speedy, enterprising soul arrives on the scene. Keyboard ready, fingers quaking in anticipation. Hastily, they hammer out their message to the world, the one to address the serenity of that blank, digital canvas below a youtube video. They write, FIRST! The question, then, is: why might there be a premium placed on being early? And why might there be additional status in claiming that earliness via comments? And why does it get a rise out of people. Why people like being first at things. Why is… YouTube… of all places… a major host to the first phenomena? Watch the episode to find out and let us know what you think in the comments below!

In a follow-up comment response video, Rugnetta reads some comments by users that seek to further explain “First!”