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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

‘His Soul Shatters at About 0:23: Self-Scaring and Hyberbolic Shock in YouTube Reaction Videos’

Smith, Clarissa and Kennedy, Julia (2013) ‘His Soul Shatters at About 0:23: Self-Scaring and Hyberbolic Shock in YouTube Reaction Videos’. In: Controversial Images. Palgrave MacMillan, London, pp. 239-253. ISBN 978-0-230-28405-0

Item Type: Book Section


In a nondescript bedroom, four friends (three males, one female) sit together in front of a computer screen and wait for a film to begin. Expecting to be scared by what they’ll see, the quartet film themselves with a web-cam. Music plays and the friends begin to squeal and exclaim, offering a shocked commentary on what they are watching. One young man excitedly walks in and out of frame while another stares wide-eyed at the computer screen in front of him. He doesn’t move even when the young woman tries to pull his face towards hers. After a minute and a half, the film ends with much laughter and the exclamation ‘Oh.My. God!’
The above describes Cougarguy222’s Spankwire Reaction video on YouTube – a clip which has been viewed more than 480,000 times and is described as ‘friends watching the HORRIBLE video, “Spankwire”. It’s the worst video EVER!!!!’ This is one of more than a thousand YouTube postings which record the reactions of viewers watching ‘Spankwire: One of the Scariest Videos Out There’ – a two and half minute video montage primarily accessed via the porn hubsite (hence its title) which went viral sometime in 2007–8. Viral videos are a feature of internet communications, tending towards the spectacular – at the ‘softer’ end exemplified in the display of a celebrity caught in an awkward moment, a household pet doing something out of the ordinary or a politician filmed ‘candid camera’ style.

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Depositing User: Clarissa Smith


Item ID: 9309
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ISBN: 978-0-230-28405-0
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Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Clarissa Smith: ORCID iD

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Date Deposited: 11 May 2018 13:20
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2019 16:06