• Like
Meditations on you tube
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5

Thanks for flagging this SlideShare!

Oops! An error has occurred.

Meditations on you tube


Analysis of viewer comments on YouTube videos for meditation

Analysis of viewer comments on YouTube videos for meditation

  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
    Be the first to comment
    Be the first to like this
No Downloads


Total Views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds



Embeds 0

No embeds

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

    No notes for slide
  • Good afternoon.
  • We took our inspiration from Martin Seligman’s PERMA theory of well-being. Seligman’s concept includes pleasure and gratification within the factors of positive emotion and engagement — the P and E in his PERMA framework. Three other factors expand well-being beyond pleasure and gratification: Meaning making, plus two others that this study did not address. Meditation is closely aligned with three of the five PERMA factors. YES THEY ARE
  • In this study we analysed viewer comments on YouTube meditation videos, to identify themes in the responses and explore how the viewers felt about their meditation experiences using these videos.
  • YouTube is a rich resource for HCI research. It provides huge amounts of primary data and immediate access to millions of comments. As of this week, the ACM Digital Library offers 66 works that contain the phrase “youtube comments”. YouTube was a wonderful resource for this study, too. At the time we collected our data, the search for “meditation” returned 4.3 million videos.
  • We started building our corpus by searching YouTube for “meditation”. From the results we took the 100 videos with the highest view counts, on the assumption that these would offer the largest body of comments for harvesting. We eliminated eleven videos — either the owner had disabled comments or the comments were unsuitable. Finally, we captured the videos’ metadata.
  • Our top two videos for view count were 1. RELAJACIÓN MÚSICA, RELAX MUSIC, MÚSICA MEDITACIÓN, MEDITATION MUSIC, REIKI MUSIC YOGA, TAI CHI http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_2Fp8wYKl8 2. Relax - Buddhist Meditation Music - Zen Garden - Kokin Gumi http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CR3dM-GlZK8
  • Many people talk about “most popular” videos as those with the most views. We are not convinced. Popularity is about more than just accesses; it also relates to how well something is liked. Watching does not necessarily imply taking pleasure in it. In addition, watching is behaviour, and we are interested in feelings and experiences. Our most-viewed meditation video has 22% more views than its closest competitor. It has 32% more “likes” from viewers; does this mean it is better liked? It has a whopping 251% more dislikes. Wow. We think this means something.
  • We looked at likes and dislikes because they indicate viewers’ feelings more strongly than just watching. We can’t use just likes; we have to moderate them with dislikes. So we divided the number of likes by the number of dislikes, to get a “likes per dislike” ratio. Our most viewed video had 14 likes per dislike. Our second-most viewed one had 37. But consider the video in our corpus that had the most likes per dislike. It had only 800 thousand views, <5% of the top one. But it had more than 70 likes for every dislike — almost five times that of the most-viewed video and almost double that of the second-most viewed one. We think that says something.
  • These two videos represent the low and high ends of likes per dislike that our videos received. The first one is simply, as it says, ten hours of white noise, and the image you see here does not change or move during this time. It’s very boring, but it’s supposed to be. The second one is the top-scoring meditation video that I mentioned earlier. Here are the URLs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNqERBWaJeM http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1xZC3TtcBU
  • As a whole, our corpus had 22 likes for every dislike. While I was preparing this presentation (and this isn’t in the paper) I started wondering how this number might compare to other topics. So I looked at three subjects that everybody seems to like. I took the top five most-viewed videos from our corpus and compared that number with the top five videos for puppies, for kittens and for babies (on the same date). The group of five meditation videos had more likes per dislike than the top five for any one of these subjects and almost 2/3 more than the other three as a group.
  • When we went to view the videos and record their auditory and visual attributes, we had to eliminate two more because they had been deleted for copyright violation. So we ended up with 87 in the final corpus. The corpus contained 20 religious videos, mostly Hindu and Buddhist, with two Sikh ones and one Native American one. We had 15 “New Age” videos — ones that appeared to have an explicitly spiritual orientation, but which were not associated with a religious or faith tradition. That left 52 secular videos, those that had neither religious nor spiritual content. These aimed mostly at relaxation and sleep.
  • The videos in our “religious” group are a very diverse bunch. Here are examples of Sikh and Hindu ones: Sikh: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tW4nyzXPDbE Hindu: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_h2rFVPCSPE
  • These two videos are in the New Age group. Both are about chakra balancing, but they have completely different auditory and visual characteristics. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v= 9P_hgfiSmLM http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qs_DuZigRzY
  • And finally two examples of secular relaxation videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jqMUkoFqwA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COKPLZ1FmWg
  • There are many different kinds of auditory and visual content. We classified these attributes at a very high level. Sounds might come from nature, musical instruments, human voices, or computer-generated tones, and they could be melodic or not. Each video used one or more of these sources. Visuals could be text, drawings, photographs, computer-generated images or videorecordings. The ones that were not videorecorded could be abstract or representational and could be still, animated or moving only via panning and zooming. Each video used at least one image source and at least one one form of movement or non-movement.
  • To build our corpus of comments, we collected 12-14 separate comments for each video. We started with all of the “top comments” — those one or two comments per video that had the most viewer “likes”. For the rest, we used convenience sampling to capture an additional 10-12 comments for each video, aiming for rich rather than representative data. (We noted spam, racist diatribes and hate speech, but we did not record them or analyse their content .) We used open coding to tag each comment’s main theme, later combining related tags into larger groups. We double-coded comments that had two themes, and treated them as two comments. This gave us 1354 comments. 70% of the comments were positive. This word cloud (generated using wordle.com) shows the top 100 important words in corpus. It omits minor words such as articles, pronouns, prepositions. The comments that we noted but did not collect included a remarkably small number of insults and diatribes, considering YouTube’s reputation. We don’t think this is merely an artefact of sampling.
  • We found three main themes in the comments. The first theme concerned the video or its creator. The largest number gave overall impressions or reactions to the video.
  • Some comments thanked or blessed the owner for posting the video.
  • Others praised or criticised specific features of the video, such as the sound effects or the quality of the speaker’s voice.
  • There were many types of questions.
  • Comments offered humour. Some seemed disparaging, but in most cases we were unsure what the commenter thought about the video.
  • The second theme described the viewer’s subjective experience of the video. The largest group described how the video did or did not relax them or help them sleep.
  • We were struck by how many comments reported effects that the video had on the viewer’s health or well-being.
  • Physical sensations were a smaller but very interesting group, tingling being the most commonly reported sensation. Several comments on videos of rain or other water sounds reported having to urinate, and we are unsure whether to take them seriously or not.
  • Many people said the music helped them with activities, mostly study or work.
  • Some comments reported out-of-body experiences or a feeling of being “in another place”. Sometimes that other place was another part of the world; other times it was another world.
  • Some comments said the video made them feel as though they had taken drugs; others talked about using drugs, wine or herbs to help them meditate. From these comments we learned about “sensestamps”. This is a brand of mixtures of extracts from herbs that the company describes as “known for their ‘special powers’”. One of the extract mixtures is targeted to meditation.
  • Some viewers expressed anger or fear, sometimes to indicate that the video helped with it. Many of the angry comments complained about the presence of advertising.
  • The third main theme in the comments was responses to other comments or remarks about them. We were struck by how many viewers offered advice, explanations and emotional support to other viewers.
  • Some comments reflected on the comments and their tone. In the small number of videos whose comments did include racial diatribes or religious debates, some commenters objected or asked them to stop.
  • There were many other categories in which the number of comments was too small for a meaningful analysis.
  • Top comments were those liked by other viewers. Two themes appeared in disproportionately high numbers among the top comments: - Advice, explanation and support - Humour We wonder if these viewers may be “voting up” comments that promote community.
  • Some comments expressed strong feelings about how YouTube frames videos. Advertisements evoked particularly pointed responses. Ads can interfere with the meditative mood.
  • Some comments detracted from the mood for many viewers. Other comments supported the experience and seemed to promote a sense of community.
  • The comments in our corpus indicate that meditation videos support all factors in Seligman’s PERMA framework of well-being. We had expected to see positive emotion, engagement, and meaning making in responses to videos. It turned out that relationships (advice, explanations and support) and achievement (wanting to do it well) were there too.
  • YouTube is widely used for posting and viewing videos for meditation purposes. On 3 May 2013, during our data collection, we found 4.3 million returns for “meditation” on YouTube. As of 7 September, there were 7.8 million returns. This is an 81% increase in only four months. We’re going to keep an eye on this. On the whole, the viewers liked the videos in our corpus. They gave the top five 65% more likes per dislike than did viewers of the top five videos (each) on puppies, kittens and babies. YouTube framing — particularly advertisements and comments — can greatly affect the experience of viewing meditation videos.
  • What we have in mind for the future is to dig more deeply into the comments. We will choose a small set of very different videos and capture the full set of comments for each, exploring patterns in viewer reactions. We will also refine our concept of “likes per dislike” to see whether (and if so, how) it should be revised or replaced. And we will (time permitting!) watch some of these videos to gain our own subjective experience of them.
  • Thank you! Buddha statue photograph by Daniela Hartmann, retrieved from Flickr and used by permission under Creative Commons licence. http://www.flickr.com/photos/29487767@N02/2772550770/ Laptop photograph by Elizabeth Buie Video image on laptop from “Buddhist Chant - Shingon”


  • 1. Meditations on YouTube Elizabeth Buie and Mark Blythe @ebuie @markblythe Northumbria University Department of Media and Communication Design
  • 2. Background  Martin Seligman’s PERMA theory of well-being » Pleasure: Positive emotion and Engagement » Beyond pleasure: Meaning making » (also Relationships and Achievement; not in study)  Meditation closely aligned with P, E & M
  • 3. Study aims  Identify themes in viewer comments on YouTube meditation videos  Explore viewers’ thoughts and feelings about how these videos affect their meditation experience
  • 4. YouTube: A rich resource 4.3 million returns for “meditation” (3 May 2013) 66 returns for “youtube comments” (2 September 2013)
  • 5. The corpus: 89 videos  Searched for “meditation”  Took 100 with highest view counts  Retained 89 in final corpus  Recorded video metadata
  • 6. 18.2 million 14.9 million Most-viewed videos
  • 7. View count and liking 32% more likes 251% more dislikes
  • 8. 70.4 13.9 36.8 Likes per dislike
  • 9. Likes per Dislike: Low & High  Lowest: Fall Asleep Fast! 10 Hours of White Noise. Increase focus, soothe a baby, meditate… (Likes per Dislike: 8.1)  Highest: Tibetan Singing Bowl Meditation (Likes per Dislike: 70.4)  Corpus: » Range: 8.1-70.4 » Median: 23.2 » Aggregated: 21.9
  • 10. Other popular topics Entire corpus: 21.9 likes for every dislike How do other popular topics compare?
  • 11. Categories of Meaning New Age (15) Secular (52)Religious (20)
  • 12. Religious meditation videos  Sikh: Chill Out Relax Music - Wonderful Meditation Mantra - Guru Guru WaheGuru (Likes per Dislike: 12.0)  Hindu: Ganesh Mantra - Obstacle Breaker (STROBE) (Likes per Dislike: N/A)
  • 13. New Age meditation videos  Chakra Balancing Meditation music Very Intense NO ADVERT (Likes per Dislike: 22.3)  Chakra Meditation Balancing & Healing (Likes per Dislike: 27.3)
  • 14. Secular meditation videos  SLEEP Music: CALM : RELAX: TIME OUT: MEDITATE - dolphin sounds and waves - Musica para Bebes (Likes per Dislike: 18.9)  Japanese Garden Meditation (Likes per Dislike: 47.1)
  • 15. Auditory and visual attributes  Auditory » Sources of sounds » Melodic or not  Visual » Sources of visuals » Type and presence of motion
  • 16. The corpus: 1354 comments “It's amazing that there are so many wonderful comments here, instead of YouTube wars. (: The love is spreading.”
  • 17. Theme 1: The video or creator  Impressions WHOOOAAA ! ! ! THAT WAS INSANELY AWESOME ! ! ! This is beautiful ♥ Boring!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wow that was powerful!
  • 18. Theme 1: The video or creator  Impressions  Thanks/blessings thank you for sharing ! Namaste Thank you, may you rest in heaven. I find it really awesome that you're putting the whole 60mn CD in free download, I think it's really generous and I wanted to just thank you :)
  • 19. Theme 1: The video or creator  Impressions  Thanks/blessings  Specific features Your voice carries a beautiful tone and your words are inspired. I especially enjoyed what you said while visualizing the heart chakra, "Loving ourselves in the foundation of good health and happiness." i cant sleep with this knowing it isnt actual rain :@
  • 20. Theme 1: The video or creator  Impressions  Thanks/blessings  Specific features  Question why am i crying? Is this for a particular religion? Is there an ideal time of day to mediate? Where i can download it?
  • 21. Theme 1: The video or creator  Impressions  Thanks/blessings  Specific features  Question  Humour hahaha i accidentally typed in YouTube.om and it sent me to this o.O hahahaha Makes me wanna poop slowly and peacefully... OM SWEET OM
  • 22. Theme 2: Subjective experience  Relaxation/sleep not exactly relaxing, it's too fast. Rubbish Perfect for those who suffer from a cluttered and disorganized mind. This helped calm my thoughts and drift of into a blissful sleep. Thank you! I use this when I just need to relax after a frustrating day.
  • 23. Theme 2: Subjective experience  Relaxation/sleep  Health/well-being This helped me a lot when i was heavily depressed, it still does. it's helpful for severe, chronic pain. What a peaceful state. I’m very blissful. Listening to that GAVE me a headache. Ow.
  • 24. Theme 2: Subjective experience  Relaxation/sleep  Health/well-being  Physical effects and sensations This made me have to pee!! Great.....my body responded the viberations. Head started moving....I enjoyed the state of my being. my body was going numb and I felt the top of my head tingling (the crown chakra spinning)
  • 25. Theme 2: Subjective experience  Relaxation/sleep  Health/well-being  Physical effects and sensations  Focus/activities I put on my headphones and listen on repeat at work... And work feels so nice... Perfect music to draw and paint to :D i study with this music on I BETTER GET AN A+
  • 26. Theme 2: Subjective experience  Relaxation/sleep  Health/well-being  Physical effects and sensations  Focus/activities  Being “elsewhere” There is something so mystic about the combination of tones & throat singing that transports me to another world, (a place I remember & love to be)
  • 27. Theme 2: Subjective experience  Relaxation/sleep  Health/well-being  Physical effects and sensations  Focus/activities  Being “elsewhere”  Drugs/alcohol/herbs like a very bad trip Awesome video to relax with a glass of red wine or sensestamps!
  • 28. Theme 2: Subjective experience  Relaxation/sleep  Health/well-being  Physical effects and sensations  Focus/activities  Being “elsewhere”  Drugs/alcohol/herbs  Anger/fear I'd rather die than listen to that for an hour i feel like theres someone watching me holy shit
  • 29. Theme 3: Response to Others  Advice, explanation and support waheguru is what sikhs call god what you are feeling spiritually are causing these goosebumps on your physical self look deep, you are god
  • 30. Theme 3: Response to others  Advice, explanation and support  Reflection XD Arguing? Seriously? You guys have a funny way of meditating! anyone else read the comments that ruined the song? It's amazing that there are so many wonderful comments here, instead of YouTube wars. (: The love is spreading.
  • 31. Smaller groups of comments  angels, demons, Satan and aliens  animals  contact requests  crying and sadness  dreams and visions  favorites  greetings  hopes and desires  insults  meditation  memories  permission and copyright  quotations  religion  spam  technical  wanting more of video  world peace  “unclear”
  • 32. Top comments
  • 33. YouTube context: Adverts “There's nothing like starting the road to mindfulness, than with a f***ing commericial.” “Ah yes, the You Tube ads cutting in on the bliss.”
  • 34. YouTube context: Comments Enhanced: Advice, explanations, support I had the same problem … but I tried to learn some meditation, it really helped so much! Who would have thought that I would be in your same shoes … Tears fill my eyes from knowing your father was at peace with it. Detracted: Insults, diatribes, religious arguments *scrolls down at comments* *scrolls back away from comments* Please disable the comments :( The religious debates kill the mood, I fear...
  • 35. Meditation Videos and PERMA Positive emotion Engagement Relationships Meaning making Achievement
  • 36. Summary  YouTube is being used for videos intended to support meditation » 7.1 million returns for “meditation” (3 September 2013) » Religious, new age and secular content » Diversity of sound and visual attributes  Viewers liked the videos » 70% of comments were positive » Five most viewed had more likes per dislike than did five most viewed on puppies, kittens, babies  YouTube framing can enhance or seriously detract from the meditation experience
  • 37. Future activities  Focus on specific videos » Analyse full set of comments » Compare comments for different types of videos  Refine “likes per dislike” concept  Explore the subjective experience!
  • 38. Thank you! Elizabeth Buie and Mark Blythe @ebuie       @markblythe Northumbria University Department of Media and Communication Design Contact: elizabeth.buie@northumbria.ac.uk Buddha statue photograph by Daniela Hartmann Used by permission under Creative Commons Laptop photograph by Elizabeth Buie Video image on laptop from “Buddhist Chant - Shingon”