Xenophobia is a type of ethnocentrism or nationalism whereby people show a dislike towards people from other cultures or countries. It is not a new problem that the world is facing, but a major issue that needs to be discussed. Travel videos on YouTube are a way that both content creators and users can explore cultures foreign to them, and are an excellent method to combat xenophobia.
What is a Travel Vlogger?
YouTube content creators that travel the world shooting videos for YouTube. Anyone can become a travel vlogger, and growing a YouTube channel can be boosted by Jaynike. The only requirement for a travel vlogger is an open mind. Given the sheer number of YouTube videos that are on the topic of travel and the gigantic user base on the platform; it isn’t surprising that most cultures are portrayed in some way or another on YouTube. Hence, a travel vlogger will need to explore many cultures, and as such needs to be accepting of those cultures that may be shockingly different from what may have been expected.
Reaching Towards The Unknown
As any YouTuber will definitely strive for, travel vloggers’ main goal is to entertain their audience with new content on a regular basis in order to grow their channel (and earn more money). If the viewer finds that they already know the places shown, or are already familiar with the culture, they might quickly lose interest. After all, there are only so many ways to re-invent the wheel! Therefore, it is not surprising that many travel vloggers are making more videos of their travels to unknown parts of societies and cultures around the world. It is inherently more interesting to watch these types of videos because they are more likely to be something entirely new to the viewer. This trend of travelling to the outskirts of civilization is not new at all. Human society has always been interested in travelling far – such curiosity is what drove the age of discovery, along with material motivations.
A subtype of travel videos is food travel videos. These show vloggers who are also continuously sampling tastes from far away lands and exploring options that may seem ludicrous to them. Food vlogs are especially important, as most cultures are intertwined with their foods. Food is also a very personal and subjective matter that can easily be dismissed as ‘subject to taste’. As more travel vloggers explore the foods of other cultures, more viewers will discover these new foods.
How Travel Videos Combat Xenophobia
Youtube is the second largest search engine on the internet, and people regularly use it for education, entertainment, research, among other things. Observing the most popular YouTube Channels, one can make assumptions about the current culture and mindset of the population of users online. Travel YouTube is extremely popular among viewers on the platform and can be an influencer of the attitudes and behaviour of the population in general. Marketing professionals regularly use social media to manipulate the behavior of a large population at once, proving that YouTubers are indeed influential to mainstream society. As these YouTubers explore different cultures and show them in favorable light, they are slowly influencing a multitude of users into accepting cultures that are foreign to them. As mainstream society is already growing increasingly unforgiving towards prejudiced opinions, the algorithm that YouTube uses to recommend travel videos to interested users will favor those travel vloggers that are unprejudiced and welcoming to foreign cultures. In simple terms, travel vloggers that are xenophobic are not likely to already be popular, and thus won’t be shown easily to xenophobic viewers. Thus, slowly but surely, xenophobia can be eradicated from mainstream society until hopefully one day, it may be considered a phenomenon of the past.
This effect can be observed regardless of the travel vloggers’ language or culture, or the viewers’. Thus the impact can be said to have influenced the world all over. As more people watch travel videos on YouTube, more will be inspired to travel as well. Hopefully, this will result in a final extinction of xenophobic behaviors and make people more accepting of those cultures that are foreign to them.