YouTube Face is "everywhere you look" on the site, writes Joe Veix: the exaggerated leering, lurching, laughing mugshots used by virtually every YouTuber seeking a mass audience, slapped on as the thumbnail for every last video.
Taken cumulatively, there's a surreal, Lynchian quality to the images. Few things could ever be exciting enough to elicit these kinds of reactions, and no one could possibly be this expressive. So what's wrong with these people? Were their brains tenderized?
No, worse. YouTube Face is clickbait, attaining human form.
YouTube Face emerged bottom-up from YouTube's click-driven ad-revenue hunger games: simple exaggerated emotions, adaptable to subject matter, and shockingly effective.
Compare to Dreamworks Face, apparently the top-down creation of marketing psychologists: a contorted welding of ambiguous emotions, applied unchangingly to everything irrespective of subject, and mostly useless.