YouTube is the lunchtime detention of the online world – filled with pranks, giggles and health and safety violations. Alex Smith can hardly bear to look ...

Unsurprisingly there has been industry-wide condemnation of the YouTube footage showing NG Bailey employees sitting in cement mixers, being set on fire, and smashing each other over the head with plasterboard. But little of this indignation surfaces in the comments section on YouTube. In fact, most people’s reaction was to “LOL” (laugh out loud). These are typical comments:

  • “LOL NG Bailey!!! Funny to know that this stuff was done last year and management have only found out about it”
  • “This video is awsome and u guys rock.”
The ratio of praise to blame was roughly four to one. Here’s a saner voice: “You’re a few weeks from being criminally procecuted by the HSE, as soon as you’ve been identified. Good luck in court, idiots!”

YouTube is like the naughty kids at the back of class. While the teacher – the HSE – shakes its head in disapproval, the kids stifle fits of giggles and big up the ringleaders.

And there’s a bit of the malevolent child in all of us. That’s why the YouTube video and sites like 28dayslater, which contains films of people illegally climbing buildings, are so popular. Generally I find the YouTube videos distasteful, but there’s another side of me that would love to see more. That’s why I try to avoid these videos. I’d rather keep that demon in its box, thank you … (Having said that, 28dayslater does contain an entry on scaling the O2 Dome, complete with images of the new 23,000-seat arena – a picture exclusive!)

Far more positive is the ODA’s Olympic blog site. Recent posts include a fly through the Olympic park and an insight into the recent 10,000-page planning application. And for those with destructive urges there’s also footage of the demolition of a building standing in the way of the velodrome.