The hacks in this video are, for the most part, terrible. You know they’re terrible, everyone knows they’re terrible, probably the people who made them know they’re terrible. But they’re so popular that this 20-minute compilation, which collects previous videos from the same YouTube channel, got over three million views in four days. So go ahead, indulge yourself.
There are multiple Instagram, Facebook and YouTube channels full of bad hacks (and the occasional good hack) such as these. I’ve covered others, such as a collection of bad Coca-Cola hacks, shot in bright colours and marketed with impossible-looking thumbnails. I've since concluded that the entire “hack” or “DIY” or “craft” aspect is just a marketing tool, that the creators of these videos can’t possibly imagine they feature useful activities.
In the pursuit of life hacks, one can be consumed by a madness. The whole world becomes both hammer and nail. Is a power cord a jump rope? Is a sponge a pincushion? With enough time, effort, and visits to the craft store, can anything become anything?
These videos are higher-budget versions of the chum box, the collection of shock-value “around the web” links that hang like dingleberries at the bottom of news articles, promising to show you which celebrities aged poorly, or one mum’s miracle cure for wrinkles. I’ve written about the horror of those links too.
But you you shouldn't ignore bad hacks videos. Instead you, and me, and everyone, we need to watch them. We need to gorge on them. We need to make parodies and response videos, like Jenna Marbles sarcastically building hot glue thongs, wearing them, and observing that “it feels like standing on softish LEGOs”. We need to make #content out of these hacks.
Because that way, the bad hacks stop being this quiet industry that spits out garbage and sucks up ad dollars. That way, bad hacks become a trend, a fad. Everyone acknowledges them, celebrates them, builds a side industry in mocking them. Because that sounds fun. And everything fun gets destroyed.
Every good meme eventually retires to Facebook where old people can use it wrong. Every good GIF dies and is buried in the cemetery of a tweet reply thread. Celebrating a good thing kills it. So let’s make bad hacks a good thing. It’s the only way they’ll die.