The Hearts in Ralph

Spoiler warning!

A couple days ago, I went to Ralph Breaks the Internet. It was a pretty enjoyable movie. I liked the plot and the after credit scene was funny. They even managed to sneak in a Stan Lee cameo. Also the Big Boss battle at the end was awesome; they did a great job animating the character. (And who wouldn’t want to be in a book club with Sonic the Hedgehog?!)

What got my attention the most was the idea of the hearts equaling money. I know that hearts (aka likes or subscribers) can help with getting money, by boosting your spot in the algorithm, but it is mostly the people watching the ads placed before or throughout the video (or at least watching 30 seconds of the ad). I thought how nice would it be if that was true: instead of getting paid when someone is actually nice enough to sit through an ad, you got paid each time someone liked your video. I know a lot of bloggers, vloggers, and YouTubers who’d love that system.

It is getting closer to that system in the form of crowdfunding, doing a pay-for subscription, or donations, but it still requires the person to pay. It’d be so weird to just click the like button and the person gets money. In the movie, you don’t see people paying or see them sitting through an ad–they just hand over their heart (wow, that got creepy there for a moment).

Can you image how much more people would be saying, “click that like button, subscribe, and hit the notification button.”

I’m sure the money was actually coming from the advertising. (It had to come from somewhere.) The hearts for money thing was probably an easier way to explain the system–it was a family movie and they didn’t have 40 minutes to explain economics. Also, animating a little heart is easier and more visually interesting than showing people sitting around watching commercials.

Maybe there was some kind of message in making the likes be hearts. The people were tossing their hearts at the screen and getting them sucked up into a machine so that the video creator could make money. We just toss our trust or love at some random Internet person that we only know what they choose to tell us.

Or it could have been that Disney didn’t want to/couldn’t use the like button icon.

I should end this with some kind of bee pun, but I won’t. (If you saw the movie, you’d understand.)

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Joe Rover ebooks are available at many online retailers.

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