Bethany over at Graph Paper Diaries discerned that the youTube algorithm seems to lead one to more and more radical things, in an effort to hold our eyes to the page. The long-term effect of this is likely bad for all of us, seamlessly leading us to more extreme and less-supportable opinions. The effect is not that we will necessarily believe these things, but that we will think our own views moderate and reasonable merely because we don't believe what those extremists do. I learned from Screwtape that I am capable of virtue-signalling to my private self.
Browsing today after the Peter and Gordon post, I apprehended that this applies to musical suggestions in the sidebar as well. If you listen to any song, the sidebar will include other covers of the song and other songs by the artist; songs you have listened to before, or very similar; songs by similar artists with lots of viewings; songs with huge numbers of viewings that are vaguely kindasorta related to things you have once watched*; AND - songs from obscurer twigs on the branch you are on. Because I occasionally look for Romanian things, I get Ukrainian or Bulgarian folk dances or versions of Kosovo's Got Talent! Play Peter and Gordon and you get Chad and Jeremy, or Herman's Hermits, or the Tremeloes. Or they can entice you down the rabbit hole to The Searchers...and on to...Scott McKenzie...and on to The Middle of the Road singing "Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep," which I never heard of.
This also can't be good for us. I have no evidence but feel this deeply every moment I watch "Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep."
*These algorithms already have gotten too clever for my comfort. I used to get sidebar offers for 8 zillion viewers for "20 Best Bikini Fails," but don't anymore, because meh. But when they slip "1960's" into that "Bikini Fails" I am temporarily frozen, wondering if Hayley Mills might conceivably be in that somewhere. The Bayesian approach of successive approximations suggest they will know us altogether too well shortly.