The YouTube channel of the city council of the New Zealand Waipa can not be called a viewing figure gun: an explanation about building permits was played 576 times, an update about the local swimming pool reached 935. But the council meeting of April 21 last year is up there with almost 300,000 viewers far above. All thanks to fake home workers.
“We feel famous”, the council reacts in a bewildered way via a press release. “We have decided the meme but to embrace it.”
The comments below the video show why internet users find the meeting so interesting: the mosaic image of the Zoom meeting is used to pretend the user is working. “It sounds like I’m in a meeting so my family members won’t disturb me when I’m working from home,” confessed one of them.
“Putted on at work to make me look busy,” admits another. “I wanted to avoid an annoying person and it totally worked.”
“My parents think I’m a student,” a third confesses. Yet another viewer says the video provides 1 hour and 43 minutes of extra sleep in the morning. “I’ve used it six times already, I feel like I belong to the group.” A user recommends making a serious face when watching, “that helps”.
Incidentally, the impostors also warn that the ruse is not foolproof. For example, people are sometimes asked why colleagues all have a New Zealand accent. One man was even caught: “I used it to get out of chores around the house, but now even when I have a real meeting I still have chores to do.”
The Waipa City Council laughs at the unexpected notoriety and says it’s great that transparency in local government is getting more attention in this way. “This is truly the pinnacle of our YouTube channel.”