Why Are So Many People Watching This Live Stream of Wyoming Traffic?
The Drive conjectures on an odd Internet trend.
The Internet has a tendency to blow up over over the oddest thing, but this may take the cake. For the last few days, thousands of people have been watching a live stream of a Jackson Hole intersection, freaking out over red trucks and waiting for people to walk under an archway made of antlers.
Yeah. We don’t get it, either.
The live stream isn’t exactly new; according to the See Jackson Hole YouTube account it lives on, it’s been online since July 20th of this year. It’s not the only one of its kind, either; the website listed in the description connects to 19 separate cameras in Jackson Hole alone.
Yet according to Metro.co.uk, in the last few days, this one view of the small Wyoming town has taken at least one corner of the web by storm. According to a post by Twitter user, the stream had around 1,400 viewers on September 5th; as of this writing, more than 2,200 people are watching. (A random sampling we took of the other Jackson Hole live streams for contrast found they averaged just a handful of views.) According to Atlas Obscura, the video began gaining traction after people randomly found it amongst their YouTube recommendations—but even before then, the post reportedly had hundreds of people watching at any given moment.
These folks aren’t just watching, either. They’re commenting—vociferously. The real-time stream of comments on the video flows by like a teleprompter read by the Flash, with people remarking on the most minute details. Two semi-regular events seem to draw special attention, however: whenever a red truck passes by, and whenever someone passes through the arch sitting kitty-corner from the camera, which the commenters often describe as though it were a human sacrifice.
The camera even has its own subreddit, /r/jacksonholetownsquare, where users post screenshots and throw out random thoughts about the town, like whether the culture of Jackson Hole’s center is reminiscent of the spooky podcast Welcome to Night Vale. The hashtag #jacksonholetownsquare has even caught fire on Tumblr, which, apparently, is still a thing.
So since we can’t figure it out, we’ve come up with a few entirely speculative hypotheses:
— The Jackson Hole chamber of commerce is secretly composed of Internet geniuses who discovered the secret to making things go viral
—Dick Cheney pulled some strings at the NSA to garner more attention for the area where he lives
—Elon Musk wants people to see how many red trucks go through Jackson Hole as part of his still-secret "Master Plan, Part Trois"
Check it out below, and try and figure it out for yourself.