Photo: Found on the official Gaia Facebook page
For the past week, whenever I log into Facebook, I’m constantly bombarded with advertisements for the streaming service Gaia.
I suspect that Google has sold the analytics that tracked the research I did while writing my previous stories concerning the streaming wars.
Because of these analytics, Facebook is now targeting streaming service ads at me because I appear to be the ideal customer for those services.
After my eighth experience being served ads for Gaia, I finally decided to look into it.
Just judging by the photos on their Facebook page, they struck me as a somewhat lower quality option when compared to Netflix.
They also struck me as completely freaking insane.
Gaia seems to be the streaming option best utilised by a very particular type of consumer.
The consumer who’s best targeted by Gaia is the person who believes in the power of alternate cancer treatments and healing stones. This person also needs to be someone who can watch videos such as Gaia’s ‘A Unified Theory of the Paranormal’ and take it seriously.
A clip from this example of Gaia programming includes the following quote,
“From demons and fairies to UFOs and Bigfoot. Tales of the unexplained have been part of humanity’s stories since the beginning. Bigfoot and other creatures have a strange habit of showing up near UFO sightings, and those who encounter either of these phenomena often discover newfound psychic abilities.”
It may seem like cherry-picking, but I could have pulled almost any quote from that video, and it would have sounded roughly the same.
Gaia is in the business of pseudoscience, conspiracy theories, and “alternative truths,” and judging by the state of today’s world, they’ve picked the perfect business for the perfect time.
What I mean is that we live in a time when the louder you scream the evidence, the more implausible you seem to people.
It seems that fantastical truths are having a moment because we live in a time when nobody trusts the motivations of anyone else.
But even those who are sceptical of the world shouldn’t be falling too hard for Gaia’s belief systems.
They have episodes that talk about aliens and reptile-humans that are somehow more ridiculous than episodes of Doctor Who. And somehow, Doctor Who does a better job of explaining how these creatures could plausibly be living among us without us knowing.
Just like Doctor Who, these episodes discuss matters of aliens and monsters as undisputed fact. They don’t worry about trying to convince you or ensuring you’re onboard; they talk about aliens the same way you’d talk about breakfast.
The only real difference between Gaia and Doctor Who is that once the cast and crew of Doctor Who finish work for the day, they go home and leave thoughts of aliens at the studio.
Instead of providing evidence, Gaia documentaries feature hosts and treat them as experts.
‘Cosmic Disclosure with Corey Goode’ can be found on the Gaia YouTube channel and features whole episodes you can watch for free.
The show centres around Goode and his alleged experience with aliens. He tells stories of his experiences while a synthetic harp screeches in the background.
Undermining the presenter, however, are the hilariously terrible animations that attempt to depict the stories he’s telling. I assume the artist was chosen for the job based on criteria that don’t include being an artist, a suspicion that brought me to Glassdoor.
Photo: Found on the official Gaia Facebook page
Glassdoor is a site I usually use when choosing companies for investment.
This is the site where employees go to vent about their employers, and Gaia employees have indeed done some venting.
One Gaia employee posted this onto Glassdoor,
“All they care about is the bottom line, to profit off the mindful movement. They’ll woo you with their mission, management will deliver an inspiring speech, and you’ll be enticed to work here because you’re ‘changing the world.’ But it’s one of the least mindful companies out there. Most employees leave on terrible terms.”
I don’t mind when a company cares about the bottom line, but it’s a bit of a red flag that they’re throwing around the term “change the world.”
The top critical review on Amazon for Gaia says,
“Gaia is a great concept with fair to mediocre content. You’d be better off subscribing to YouTube Red and taking a little time to find a few great channels that add regular content about yoga, meditation etc than subscribing to Gaia.”
The top positive review on Amazon wasn’t much kinder,
“I was looking at subscribing to Gaia, and when I saw doing it through Amazon was a couple of dollars cheaper per month I went for it. During my trial week, I discovered there was content I was not able to access. Upon inquiring with Gaia I was enlightened to the fact that some things are not available to subscribers going through Amazon.”
Judging by the reviews and the content I watched on the Gaia YouTube channel, Gaia appears to me to be an absolutely crazy streaming platform which I will never be a part of.
The service seems custom-made for a very niche market of people who enjoy pseudoscience delivered as fact and really terrible animation.
Some critics accuse the network of being dangerous, as most pseudoscience preachers can be. (Such as recommending alternative treatments for illnesses including cancer).
However, I’m confident that if a person is paying a monthly subscription fee to learn what Gaia has to say, that person already believes that vegetable leaves can cure cancer.
I believe that services such as Gaia exist to reinforce the theories that people already have. Gaia and services like it are an echo-chamber that pats customers on the back for having an unusual world-view.
Although I’d better be careful when being too critical of Gaia. Former Gaia filmmaker Patty Greer accused Gaia of using directed-energy weapons against critics. (A statement he later apologised for making).
So tomorrow morning, if instead of my sleeping body someone discovers a pile of ashes in my bed, I’ve been taught a lesson by Gaia.
Ye be warned.