YouTube is a social media platform where users (“creators”) visually interact with viewers in a variety of different contexts. A newer type of video being uploaded by many creators is called a “Mukbang”. During these mukbang videos, the creator of the video will have a large quantity of any type of food and that person (or multiple people) will sit and talk about a topic of their choice. For my final project, I want to research this phenomenon on YouTube for the journal Human Communication Research. My argument is that mukbangs enable the creator to openly engage in one-way dialogue with the viewer, who, in turn, relates more to said creator through the use of food. Mukbangs have become the electronic version of the dinner table and provide a closeness between the creator and the viewer.
YouTube is a platform that is ever-evolving and growing rapidly. I believe this is a type of communication that needs more research especially since YouTube is evolving into something more personal for viewers and creators alike. Many popular creators including Game Grumps, Cody Ko, Emma Chamberlain, Jake and Logan Paul, and Tana Mongeau use stories in their respective channels. They each have their own personality and niche in YouTube, but they also use stories of their lives to relate to their audience. Game Grumps, for example, play video games while telling stories about their lives. Tana Mongeau, on the other hand, simply sits in front of a camera while telling her stories. One creator who has been very popular is Trisha Paytas, who frequently uses mukbangs to relate to her audience.
Trisha Paytas is an over-the-top YouTube creator who has been on the platform since January 2007. She posts mainly lifestyle blogs and promotes her aspiring music career, but her most popular videos are where she eats. She is extremely honest and it feels like you are sharing a meal with her when watching her mukbangs. Millenials and Gen Z do not utilize the traditional “dinner table” meals like previous generations. Even when people go out to eat, there’s a new presence of the cell phone that distracts from actual group conversation. Even at home, the family dynamic has changed. “Generations ago, a family of four or five would gather around the dinner table and eat whatever dish mom prepared. Today, 62% of households are either single or couples”, states A.T. Kearney (Watrous, 2019). My study is going to relate how these mukbang YouTubers are bridging the gap between traditional dinner-talk and new technology.
Watrous, M. (2019, January 18). How millennials disrupted dinnertime. Retrieved from https://www.foodbusinessnews.net/articles/13171-how-millennials-disrupted-dinnertime