One man, eight years, nearly 20,000 cat videos, and not a single viral hit

One man, eight years, nearly 20,000 cat videos, and not a single viral(ˈvīrəl) hit

How an animal(ˈanəməl) lover’s hobby(ˈhäbē) of recording himself feeding stray(strā) cats exemplifies(igˈzempləˌfī) the glory(ˈglôrē) of the anonymous(əˈnänəməs) web.

By Joe(jō) Veix

Eight years ago, a middle-aged Japanese(-ˈnēs,ˌjapəˈnēz) man started a YouTube(ˈyo͞oˌt(y)o͞ob) channel(ˈCHanl) and began posting videos of himself feeding stray cats. A lot of videos. Usually one per day, every day. As of this year, he had posted over 19,000 times. If you put all his videos into one big playlist and turned on autoplay(ˈôdōˌplā), it would take you roughly(ˈrəflē) six and a half days to reach the end. It’s possibly(ˈpäsəblē) the most prolific(prəˈlifik) non-automated(ˈôdəˌmāt) channel on YouTube.

It’s also one of the loneliest(ˈlōnlē). Over the long existence(igˈzistəns) of his channel, most of his videos only ever got five or so views, and had only 100 subscribers(səbˈskrībər). Yet he kept posting. When the channel was linked to on Reddit’s r/DeepIntoYouTube board(bôrd) in March of 2019, he suddenly gained(gān) a whopping(ˈ(h)wäpiNG) 2,000. Despite(dəˈspīt) this influx(ˈinˌfləks), it didn’t really make him a celebrity(səˈlebrədē). Most of the videos still typically(ˈtipik(ə)lē) receive(rəˈsēv) less than 50 views(vyo͞o).

The lack of popularity(ˌpäpyəˈlerədē) is perhaps because the videos aren’t that interesting, at least not technically(ˈteknək(ə)lē). They seem almost antiviral(ˌantēˈvīrəl,ˌantī-) by design. For one, the videos are all untitled(ˌənˈtīdld). Each just uses the default filename provided by his camera, a code and a string of numbers. The current filenames (DSCNXXXX) suggest that at least one of his cameras is a Nikon(nīcän) Coolpix. And indeed, these are some cool pix(piks).